Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The National Assembly has approved the establishment of the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences, whose programmes are in sync with the country’s quest to add value to its natural resources under the auspices of Zim-Asset. It is also Government policy to have a state university in each of the 10 provinces with Manicaland and Matabeleland South being the only provinces yet to have these.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa steered the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill through the lower House yesterday where MPs across the political divide hailed Government for the development.
Dr Gandawa said the university would have a niche area in applied sciences in order to proffer scientific and technological solutions to challenges facing Zimbabwe. The key objectives of the university are specialisation in applied sciences, mineral sciences, forestry sciences, agricultural sciences, wood technology, and tourism and hospitality.
The university will start with four inaugural faculties: Engineering; Tourism and Natural Resources; Horticulture and Environment Sciences; and Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dr Gandawa said the institution would be established as a multi-campus university with four centres that would offer unique programmes.
The four campuses would be in Mutare, Makoni, Nyanga and Chipinge.
“Mutare shall be responsible for engineering because of the manufacturing and mining activities in areas in and around the City of Mutare.
“Makoni shall be responsible for agriculture because of high rainfall. This is a traditionally flue-cured Virginia tobacco, maize and wheat growing belt and is complemented by animal husbandry.
“Nyanga shall be responsible for forestry, tourism and hospitality, wildlife, horticulture, fruit and vegetables and fisheries because of the obtaining pleasant and ideal climatic conditions.
“Chipinge shall be responsible for horticulture and irrigation-supported agriculture, in particular wheat and cotton in Middle Sabi and sugarcane cultivation for bio-fuels,” said Dr Gandawa.
He said a foundation steering committee was established to spearhead resource mobilisation for the university with several stakeholders expressing an interest to support the cause.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development chaired by MDC-T MP for Chinhoyi, Dr Peter Mataruse, welcomed the university imploring Treasury to avail funding for infrastructure development.
“After gazetting of the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill, the committee conducted public hearings and the residents of Manicaland were naturally excited that the province would finally have a State University,” said Dr Mataruse.
Other MPs said it was important for Government to ensure that the quality of education to be offered by the university was of good quality.
Meanwhile, Dr Gandawa also moved the Gwanda State University Bill that also seeks to establish a university in the last province without a State University.
The House adjourned when the Bill was at the committee stage.
The Bill is expected to be passed today.