Bulawayo colleges open companies as Education 5.0 bears fruit
BULAWAYO’S Hillside Teachers’ College and the United College of Education have ventured into full-time industrialisation through establishing and registering new companies in line with the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 model.
The development adds impetus to the on-going efforts by the Government to re-industrialise Bulawayo and anchor the country’s economy on increased high-value production with a focus on substituting imports and stimulating export earnings.
UCE, which specialises in primary school teacher training has set up a company called Collinvest (Pvt) Ltd and registered it with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
The new company deals with musical instruments and production of protective clothing as well as uniforms.
UCE principal, Dr Adam Luthuli, has said the college, in line with Education 5.0 philosophy on innovation and industrialisation, is now producing goods and services.
“The college’s company, Collinvest (Pvt) Ltd, which is registered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), is overwhelmed with requests for musical instruments, protective clothing and uniforms. Our company has received orders from Gwanda State University, Manicaland State University. Kusile Rural District Council, Hwange Rural District Council, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Harare Central Hospital,” he said on Friday during the institution’s graduation ceremony.
Dr Luthuli said the company is into production and repair of marimba, mbira and was also running chicken and piggery projects.
He said the company intends to produce assistive devices such as hearing aids, wheelchairs and prostheses or artificial body parts.
Hillside Teachers’ College, which was established in 1956 to train secondary school teachers, has already set up a secondary school as part of efforts to bridge the shortage of schools in the country while pursuing other commercial ventures.
A total of 56 Form One learners are now attending classes from the main campus awaiting the construction of new school premises in Matobo District after the local authority gave the institution a 24-hectare piece of land.
The college is also producing nutritious ‘Madhumbe Crisps’, a product that has been approved by the Government analyst laboratory and is expected to hit the market soon.
One of the female students at the college has also come up with a unique garment design concept to assist breastfeeding mothers and T-shirt, which allows a mother to breastfeed in public without exposing any part of her body.
Hillside Teachers’ College acting principal, Dr Sifelani Jabangwe, said the national agenda of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030 was premised on innovation and industrialisation, which puts colleges and universities in the spotlight to lead from the front.
“As we celebrate our ceremony under the theme: ‘Transformative Teacher Education for Accelerated Innovation and Industrialisation’, I would like to underscore the fact that it is imperative for us as a college to have our teacher education bringing innovation and industrialisation into the foreground,” he said.
“Against this backdrop, we have embraced these two concepts as part of our core mandate in line with Education 5.0 and have since embarked on a number of projects, which are reflective of this stance.”
Following the Government’s call for colleges to assist former students to form consortiums and establish schools, Dr Jabangwe said 10 former students approached the college expressing an interest in establishing a high school.
“We were offered 24ha of land in Matobo district about 30 km from Bulawayo. We are ready to start phase one of the construction of the school.”
“I am pleased to inform you that January 2023 saw the college’s commencement of two form-one classes with an enrolment of 56 learners at our newly established practicing school,” he said.
“We have had to create space for those classes within the infrastructure that we have for now. However, as we look to enrol classes in future, our plan is to build the school at our Hillside Teachers’ College 4ha extension stand.
“The college is working closely with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to regularise operations of the school.”
Dr Jabangwe said three college students and a lecturer have initiated a project to produce Madhumbe crisps.
“The project uses the local resource, madhumbe tuber. The product has been tried and tested and has also undergone assessment by Government analyst laboratory,” he said.
“I am actually happy to say that the same product is actually available and is on sale right here on our campus and has been packaged as Hill Madhumbe Crisps advertised as ‘Traditional crispy taste just for you!”.
Dr Jabangwe said the college had also established a recording studio that is set to benefit the institution through recording fees to be paid by local artists although lecturers and students are the immediate beneficiaries.
He said the college was hoping to step up production of breastfeeding dress which was designed by one of the students which allows the mother to breastfeed in public without exposing any part of her body.
The Education 5.0 blue-print prioritises the development of five-main faculties in learners, which include teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation as key pillars driving an innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy.