2 996 graduates capped at NUST Professor Mqhele Dlodlo

Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yester­day capped 2 996 graduands at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), among them, Information, Publicity and Broad­casting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere who graduated with a PhD in Development Studies.

It is Dr Muswere’s second PhD degree and his thesis was titled: “Corporate Governance Practices and Performance of State-owned Enterprises in the Information and Communication Technology Sector in Zimbabwe: A New Public Management Approach”.

Also graduating with a PhD in Development Studies was Dr Susan Marimira Chido whose the­sis was: “Developing an Innovation and Communication Platform (ICP) Framework Capable of Stimulating Multi-stakeholder Participation in Transfrontier Conservation Areas”.

King Lobengula’s descendant Dr Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo graduated with a PhD in African Leadership and his thesis was titled: “Cultural Leadership Response Mechanism in Drought and Famine Disaster Management among the Ndebele Tribe in the South-West­ern Region of Zimbabwe”.

President Mnangagwa also capped Dr Wilbert Fungura who graduated with a PhD in Business Administration and his thesis was titled: “Organisational Learning, Competitive and Performance of the Zimbabwean Banking Sector”.

Mr Donald Zvada, who grad­uated with a BSc in Operations Research and Statistics received the coveted Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award and pocketed US$1 000 for being the best graduating male student at under-graduate level.

Ms Rachel Deline Muyambo, who was studying for a Bachelor of Engineering Honours Degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering was the best female graduating student and received the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award of US$1 000.

Ms Letwine Mutsau and Mr Simbarashe Shadreck Chitima who both graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Records and Archives Management respectively received the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award for best post-graduating female and male students and respectively received US$500.

Four graduates, Miss Saviour Munotyaani, Miss Bester Nokuthaba Sibanda, Mr Henry Melusi Phiri and Mr Daniel Shaun Chembesi each received the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s Chancellor Award for the Best Innovative Projects.

While it was a moment  of jubilation for most of the graduates and their families, it was a sad tale for three families as their children graduated posthumously.

During the sombre moment President Mnangagwa got to his feet as he capped family representatives of the deceased.

NUST Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo said the Presidential awards motivated the students to excel in their studies.

He said the university remains oriented to its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) mandate and is introducing more programmes to ensure an increased number of females are enrolled at NUST.

He said from the 2 996 graduates, 46 percent were female and 54 percent male.

“We are confident that the 50-50 gender parity in education will be achieved soon. The university has set up a gender committee and partnered with Katswe Sistahood in setting up a Gender Knowledge Hub, whose operationalisation is planned for the coming year,” said Prof Dlodlo.

“The centre will support female students and academics, as well as contribute to increasing enrolment of female students in STEM disciplines through debunking the myth that it is a difficult field for boys only.”

Prof Dlodlo said it was encouraging that 58 percent of its graduates came from the STEM disciplines, describing it as a clear indicator that the university is firmly grounded in its field of mandate.

“To consolidate this achievement, the university has embarked on a process of stematising the Faculty of Commerce programmes. A total of 250 students are graduating with First Class and Distinctions. We are graduating 44 students from Botswana, Malawi and Zambia,” he said.

Prof Dlodlo said graduates have been equipped with skills to be solution-driven and innovative to address national challenges.

“NUST is your home, I invite you to continue working with us at the Innovation Hub, Technovation Centre, Bulawayo Technology and many other university centres that produce goods and services.

“Nust has trained you not just to be job seekers, but entrepreneurial graduates who are creators of employment through start-up projects. Nust is a big brand, keep it flying high,” he said.

Prof Dlodlo said the fruits of the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 are being felt globally as the country’s universities are excelling in international competitions.

“NUST, together with two other local universities, achieved a great milestone when we were ranked among the best universities in Africa.

“This is a testimony that the new education philosophy has the power to limit the impact of the economic sanctions imposed on the country that have placed a huge burden on the operations of higher and tertiary education institutions,” he said.

Prof Dlodlo said NUST was ranked 24th from 88 universities in 20 countries in teaching, research and societal impact by the Times Higher Education Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings, demonstrating Government’s commitment to transforming the higher and tertiary education system.

He said NUST is heavily involved in national construction projects through the provision of expertise including architectural designs for several Government projects and the production of graduates to close the skills gap in the construction industry.

Prof Dlodlo said the university has since introduced new programmes to support the construction sector.

The university produced first-time graduates in the Bachelor of Construction Studies in Construction Management, Bachelor of Construction Studies in Quantity Surveying and Master of Science in Big Data Science.

“These new degrees and graduates are in response to your call for the universities to develop new knowledge, skills and competencies,” he said.

Prof Dlodlo said the university next year will introduce a Faculty of Agricultural Science and Technology to support growth in the agriculture sector.

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