President Mugabe yesterday capped 3 274 students who graduated in different disciplines at the University of Zimbabwe. He conferred 2 716 graduands with first degrees, 545 Masters degrees and 13 Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
The graduands were drawn from nine faculties including the College of Health Sciences.
Among the graduands were 139 medical doctors, 10 dental doctors, 57 pharmacists, 17 veterinary doctors, 279 accountants, 102 lawyers, 18 radiologists, 13 computer scientists, 125 agricultural experts and 99 engineers.
Some Government and Zanu-PF officials, including First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Abigail Damasane and politburo member Cde Patrick Zhuwawo, also graduated.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura, expressed gratitude to President Mugabe for his efforts in promoting growth in university education. “The University of Zimbabwe also owes a debt of gratitude to Government under your (President Mugabe’s) able stewardship of the financial support to the institution under very difficult circumstances.
“The brain drain which we thought had ended is again rearing its ugly head. To retain experienced staff, we continue to appeal to Government to improve our conditions of service to make us competitive regionally,” he said. Prof Nyagura said the university had embraced the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) and was going to work towards the success of the economic plan.
“Each of our faculties and departments has identified a niche in the blueprint and submitted concrete proposals highlighting how the university is able to collaborate with Government departments and other players to implement the economic blueprint,” he said.
The university had also revived its curriculum to promote innovation, applications of science and technology and entrepreneurship, he said. Prof Nyagura said the institution was geared towards producing graduates with a strong foundation in science and technology and problem-solving and analytical skills.
He said society was becoming complex, with different individual requirements, which posed several challenges to the public service and the university.
He said focus should be put on producing highly qualified professionals and ensure the results of research were being efficiently transferred to society.
“The separation of Siamese twins by a local team of surgeons led by Mr (Bothwel) Mbuwayesango, a renowned academic at this university, testifies to our commitment to become increasingly more relevant to the Zimbabwean society. We have the commitment to remain open to capture the knowledge generated by society so as to sustain and further develop the intellectual and cultural base of our society. In this endeavour, the Zimbabwe indigenous knowledge is the foundation for our applied research,” he said.
Prof Nyagura applauded stakeholders who offered scholarships to support the education of the students to develop the intellectual and cultural base of society, even in the face of illegal sanctions. He said investing in education should not be left to Government alone. The University of Zimbabwe has adopted an inclusive policy towards students with disabilities since 2003.
Yesterday 28 students with disabilities graduated in different disciplines.