Bindura varsity female hostels achieve world-class standards Entrance to the new girl’s hostel, a three-story building which accommodates 352 students

Fungai Lupande

The state-of-the-art female hostels built at Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) have given the institution a new depth of character.  

Luxurious and tastefully decorated, 352-bed hostels are certainly a confidence booster for the female students, who for long had used substandard structures. 

They are well-manicured from the ceiling, walls, tiled floors and little everything else that they give comfort to the learners.

Each room accommodates two students and furnished and spacious to manoeuvre.

Adding to the grandeur of the room are two separately build closets with enough space for the ladies, a workstation for two by the window, overhead bookshelves, two chairs, and their single beds, are all there in the room.

The hostels are also divided into quads with each group having its television room, computer room, and common or meeting room.

Shower rooms for the girls

Each quad has four cubicles of flush toilets, and washing basins while the opposite side of the ablution facility has four cubicles of showers.   

The hostel warden’s room is the ‘executive suite’ of the complex with custom-made furniture, an en-suite, a bigger closet, and a reception area with a detached kitchen sink.

This room is more spacious and the bathroom is sophisticated, attached with modern bathroom accessories.

Laundry rooms both inside and outside at top-notch, with equilibrium established the outside has groomed green grass giving the whole place an exquisite ambiance.

The students are connected to  wi-fi 24/7. 

As The Herald made its way through all the rooms and facilities, this reporter bumped into two girls who were in the process of selecting their room.

The pair who could not hide their excitement said they could not wait to hang their clothes in the closets.

Munashe Kunzekwenyika a Peace and Governance student said, “We joined the school in the middle of the semester and we were temporarily settled in a disused kitchen at the old hostel. We kept our clothes in suitcases because 

“I don’t forget how we lifted beds downstairs to the second floor into the kitchen.

The pair are sticking together, Roselyn Dzananwe, a safety, health, and environment management student said she will continue to share a room with her friend Munashe.

“I am happy and I cannot wait to pack up and arrange my things on all these shelves. They are taking time to show us our room we want to move in right now,” she said.   

Danai Gwarati, a fourth-year optometry student, who is among the first group to occupy the new hostels said she moved from the old student residents.

Danai said that she never had a bad experience with student residences because the rooms are not crowded.

“Here it’s a cleaner atmosphere. We are the first group to occupy the rooms and use the furniture. I moved to the new hostels from the old ones whose furniture was worn out,” she said.

“I like how it’s quieter during the evening so that I can read and sleep comfortably. We have more cubicles at the ablution facilities and each quad has its own. It’s comfortable.

“We have guards who man the complex. Our rooms have locks as well as the closets, so we have security and are not worried about losing personal property.”

The girls had a fatherly figure who watches over them daily, a janitor Mr Workson Marumisa, and the girls call him ‘uncle’ or ‘sekuru’ in vernacular.

He knows them all and checks up on them daily to see if no one is sick, no intruder enters, and no property is destroyed.

“We don’t allow them to cook in the room or co-habitat with boys. We have a single bed that cannot accommodate two people,” he said.

“We keep a register on every student and her details including the next of kin. We keep an eye on people who enter the complex some are non-residents who want to steal.

“If one of them falls sick we inform the warden and an ambulance is called. It is easy to work with girls because all we are concerned about is their safety and welfare.”

BUSE Vice-Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje said research shows that students’ performance is related to the environment they stay in.

Therefore, it is important to provide a conducive environment for students to concentrate on their studies.

Dormitory for two students

“We made sure that the hostel is as close as possible to their learning facilities. Only two students stay in a room, so that there is no overcrowding,” he said.

“There is provision for a reading space in the rooms. The hostels take the students far away from the madness in society which can be distracting.”

Prof Mwenje said they included several common rooms and television rooms as they constructed the hostel with a 21st century mindset.

A television room which accommodates at least 20 students for one quad, with DStv and wi-fi facilities

In the laundry room, he said washing machines will be put up to enable the student to have all the necessary facilities.

“The hostel has an in-house solar facility and Government has already paid for it. The solar system is imported from Germany and it’s in place,” he said.

“We have drilled three boreholes to ensure constant supply and adequate water for the girls. In the face of load shedding, our students will be able to study and have solar-heated water.”

The university is constructing another state-of-the-art 1 200-bed hostel which has a hair salon and shopping mall.

Prof Mwenje said the university is guided by the National Development Strategy 1 in infrastructure development and responded to Government’s call that all universities ought to have innovation hubs.

“We had lagged but it has been the focus of the Second Republic to improve on our infrastructure and internationalize. We cannot attract international students when they come here and have problems with the accommodation or learning facilities,” he said.

“The President made it clear that universities play a major role in industrialization. We cannot do this if our learning facilities are not in order.

“We need modern equipment which is up to date. Our optometry is equipped with modern equipment and all our graduating students were absorbed by industry despite to desire to retain some.” He said the university is investing heavily in modern equipment.

Prof Mwenje saluted President Mnangagwa for his mantra on industrialisation and modernisation.

“We cannot motivate young people when they are looking at old equipment and when they go out into industry, they realised its outdated,” he said.

“We want students from outside the country to conclude that education and facilities in Zimbabwe are good and ultimately come. We are making a change.”

Turning to sanctions, Prof Mwenje said he has first-hand experience with negative effects.

He said the university is also affected by sanctions.

“We are not able to access certain international research and support grants. We are not eligible because our country is under sanction,” he said.

“In some academic meetings, we are not welcome because of the sanctions. The President said we should develop from inwards and this enabled us to survive.

“This year we commissioned the innovation hub, engineering complex, and hostel build using Government funds. We cannot wait for things to be better.”

 Prof Mwenje said despite sanctions, they have kept their quality assurance intact and some of their students are at Oxford University.

He said the President’s trust and belief in universities to find home-grown solutions was a turning point, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The university has kept relations with its diaspora community who are supportive and leveraged on friendly countries like Cuba and Ghana. 

Collaborations had been made with Cape Coast and Nottingham Universities, he said. 

“The Second Republic has given opportunities to universities and believing in us is taking us far and very important. A lot of positives came out of the hardships,” he said.

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