Defence Varsity open to everyone The Zimbabwe National Defence University

Bulawayo Bureau

THE Zimbabwe National Defence University has debunked a misconception that it only enrols members of the uniformed forces.

In fact, most of those enrolled at the university are civilians.

The university has been exhibiting under the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) for the past four years.

This time around the university which was established in 2017 has shifted from the ZDF stand and is exhibiting within a hall occupied by other tertiary institutions.

Zimbabwe National Defence University public relations and protocol officer, Major Arthur Munyoro said the university wants to use the trade fair to demystify the thinking that it only recruits soldiers among other security personnel.

“The university is exhibiting at the ZITF Hall 3 among other tertiary institutions.

“We wanted the public to know that our university is not a military university.

“We are now a public institution which enrols even the general public. We transformed from the Zimbabwe National Defence College in 2017 through a Presidential Proclamation,” said Major Munyoro.

He said the university has the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Social Sciences at the Centre for Defence Security Studies.

In Social Sciences programme, it is offering Master of Science degree in International Relations, Master of Science Degree in Defence and Security Services and Master of Science degree in Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Mechanism.

It also offers a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Security and Disaster Management.

Major Munyoro said unbeknown to most members of the public, most students at the university are civilians, but there is scope to increase enrolment figures.

“Roughly we have 400 students in the institution and 360 are civilians.”

We believe our civilian enrolments have been a bit low that is one of the major reasons why we decided to move away from the ZDF stand and come and exhibit with other tertiary institutions so that they understand better what we are offering and that they can enrol with us,” said Major Munyoro.

He said the university offers undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes.

The university is also exhibiting some of the innovations from its students.

A software developer who just completed a software engineering programme with the university, Mr Victor Ndlovu (38) said the institution is not so different from others in the country.

“As long as you have the requisite qualifications, you can enrol at the university just like any other university. As a civilian I enrolled and I excelled that is why I’m exhibiting here today. I’m also exhibiting at the university’s stand, I’m not a soldier. The project that I’m showcasing was part of my final year programme, what is now left is that I graduate at the university,” said Mr Ndlovu who is exhibiting a cardiovascular software whose aim is to help doctors identify if patients have heart diseases.

“This is a web-based application making use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms to be specific which predicts or diagnoses if someone would be having a disease or not. This does not replace the doctor but will be used in the health facility where the readings will be done. The application is important,” he said.

“In most instances doctors rely on memory so through this software we are lessening the burden on the doctor. The software is not there to replace the doctor but complement them. This is more accurate than the brain and sometimes relies on the patient’s history which may not be able to detect the cause of the illness,” he said.

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