Varsities rotten: Prof Moyo…Academics failing to make an impact on developmental issues
Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
THE Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo has said there is a lot of rot in higher and tertiary education institutions with most of the country’s academics failing to make an impact on developmental issues.
Prof Moyo said as a result none of Zimbabwe’s universities are recognised regionally and internationally.
He said academics’ failure to research on sound projects has led to the country failing to make it into the top 50 universities in Africa.
Prof Moyo said none of the country’s universities are rated among the best 800 globally.
He said this on Wednesday while addressing Lupane State University’s lecturing and non-lecturing staff during a familiarisation tour of the institution.
“We think that there’s something rotten about the state of higher and tertiary education, science and technology development. We think that’s why the best among you are snatched by universities in South Africa,” said Prof Moyo.
There are six universities in South Africa, Prof Moyo said, which are among the 14 in Africa appearing in the top 800 in the world. “They’re benefiting from our institutions and we know that and we want to correct it strategically,” said Prof Moyo.
He castigated academics for being involved in irrelevant studies saying the country’s PhD holders are never cited by other scholars for their researches.
“There are many doctors who are useless, absolutely useless but we know that they have PhDs . . . But here in Zimbabwe we think that if you’re Doctor so and so and Professor so and so you’re important yet the truth is that you’re not.”
“You can’t become important just because you are doctor so and so. You can only be important as doctor so and so on the basis of what you are doing,” he said.
Prof Moyo said publishing relevant documents will put institutions on the spotlight.
“It’s important for doctors and professors to be among leading researchers and contributors of development not just of their communities and countries but mankind at large,” he said.
“How do you measure that? By their publications and citations of those publications. We’ve a lot of useless people with PhDs who have published things that nobody cites,” Prof Moyo said.
He said it was scandalous that academics who are researching on irrelevant topics were getting promoted.
Prof Moyo said intellectual property was serious business and universities must tap into that.
Turning to LSU, he said starting January next year the university should start relocating to its campus in Lupane as a lot of ground has been covered.
“Early next year, which begins next month, we are going to see movement to the Lupane Campus where you really should be. We hope by the end of next year no one would be here who is either a member of teaching staff or student,” he said.
Prof Moyo said the Ministry was aware that some staff members were reluctant to move to the campus site. He said those who did not want to move to the campus should leave the university.
“We’re aware or at least heard rumours that some of you members of the staff joined out of a belief that Lupane relocation is wishful thinking, propaganda from the government, it will never happen, there is no money for it. So you thought it’s going to be Lupane State University in Bulawayo,” said Prof Moyo.
He said: “We’ve heard rumours suggesting that some of the staff with that attitude have their children going to elite schools here. It might be nursery schools and primary school and they say I can’t go with my family to live in the bush where they don’t have these schools. It means these are the last days we are with you,” he said.
Prof Moyo said LSU should be an engine for development in Lupane through making Matabeleland North’s provincial capital a university driven town.
He said government was working tirelessly to address accommodation for student and staff, through the infrastructure bond which is designed to expedite construction work.
He said fireworks are expected at National University of Science and Technology today as the Ministry is not impressed with how the institution is executing its mandate.