Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter
President Mugabe yesterday conferred degrees on 1 065 graduates at the 13th Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) graduation ceremony.
The graduates excelled in various undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, including science education, biological sciences, analytical chemistry, environmental physics, computer science, development studies, police and security studies, intelligence and security and chemical technology.
Buse Vice Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje said the university was in the process of setting up a science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre to educate, train and prepare teachers and students to gain competencies and skills in the four disciplines, which are critical to the country’s development.
“The science, technology, engineering, mathematics subjects – called the STEM subjects in short – are necessary to produce practitioners to drive our commerce and industries,” Prof Mwenje said.
He noted that countries such as South Korea and China developed faster after implementing educational curricula with a heavy emphasis on STEM subjects.
Prof Mwenje commended President Mugabe, who is the university’s Chancellor, for fostering a quality education system ranked second best in Africa and having the highest literacy rate despite enduring illegal sanctions for more than a decade.
“As a testimony to the observations of the World Economic Forum Report of 2014 on Science and Mathematics, our students continue to excel in foreign countries,” he said.
“For instance, one of our members of staff, who was doing his PhD studies with Tokyo University in Japan, won a gold medal and appeared on Japanese television for his outstanding research, which was of particular significance to Southern Africa.”
Prof Mwenje said the staff member made a seminal discovery on the real causes of changes in temperatures and droughts in Southern Africa.
“He discovered that the ozone hole in the Antarctica was responsible for the warm summers and droughts in our region,” he said.
“Accordingly, we take pride as a nation in producing such exceptional people.”
Prof Mwenje said the university signed a memorandum of agreement with Government to train 1 521 teachers in science and mathematics starting December 2014.
Prof Mwenje said that the university would also implement a strategic plan for the period 2014-2018 based on the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
“We identified two clusters which we have to focus on,” said Prof Mwenje.
“These are the social services and poverty eradication cluster and the value addition and beneficiation cluster.
“The plan has helped us to focus more clearly on the human capital requirements in the science education sector and other related areas.”
A number of organisations and companies sponsored awards for the best students — with some sponsored by individuals such as Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, eye specialist Dr Solomon Guramatunhu and Bindura South legislator Cde Remigious Matangira.
Vandrift Security Services awarded prizes to the best student in the Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Peace and Governance, Frank Chiwanda, and the best female student in the same programme, Chenai Mutiro.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Government ministers, senior Government officials, relatives and friends of the graduates.