Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe has lifted the freeze on academic staff recruitment for all programmes that have been approved by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE).
Speaking during the 8th graduation ceremony of Lupane State University in Lupane yesterday, President Mugabe said $3,9 million had been released towards the development of the institution.
“My Government will with immediate effect lift the recruitment freeze on academic staff for all programmes that have already been approved by ZIMCHE.
In monetary terms, these measures have been estimated to amount to about $3,9 million which I have directed to be released immediately,” said the President.
“My Government in consultation with the Vice Chancellor and Reserve Bank Governor will immediately release funding to complete the male hostel, solar heating system for student hostels and two staff flatlets,” he said.
President Mugabe said establishing LSU is a worthwhile and justifiable investment in the Government’s collective effort to render higher education more accessible and affordable to all Zimbabweans.
“The expectations of Lupane State University by the nation are very high. I am however, mindful of the many constraints that the institution is facing which include inadequate infrastructure, lack of laboratory equipment and materials, and challenges in recruiting appropriately qualified academic staff.”
President Mugabe was also conferred with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Agricultural Sciences in honour of his dedication in establishing the university and educating the nation, becoming the first doctoral graduate of the institution.
Conferring the doctorate, LSU Vice Chancellor Professor Pardon Kuipa said the institution was grateful to President Mugabe’s dual schemes in promoting agriculture in Zimbabwe.
“The Agrarian reform has altered the land ownership pattern in favour of the previously marginalised indigenous Zimbabweans. Surely there is no better empowerment and ownership of the economy than this, hence our collective consensus as a University that this prestigious academic distinction should be bestowed to none other than yourself Your Excellency,” said Prof Kuipa.
He said in total, 843 graduates completed their studies in various faculties.
“About 63 percent of our graduates are female and we had 83 post graduates who also completed their studies. In total we had 670 undergraduates,” he said.
Of note are Gibson Mhaka, a B-Metro reporter who received the LSU book prize, Vice Chancellor’s prize, TelOne laptop and graduate learnership position for being the best graduating student in Communication Studies. Mhaka also got the National Furniture Trophy for being the overall best graduating student in the department of Languages.
Other graduates include Sunday News Assistant Editor Mkhululi Sibanda, senior reporter Robin Muchetu, sub-editor Nomalanga Sibanda and Umthunywa reporter Cornelias Luphahla. — @thamamoe.