President Mugabe yesterday capped 1 986 graduands at the National University of Science and Technology’s 20th graduation ceremony in Bulawayo. He also conferred posthumously an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree on the late Vice President Landa John Nkomo.
At yesterday’s ceremony, 1 419 graduates were conferred with undergraduate degrees, 459 masters degrees while five were awarded master of philosophy degrees.
President Mugabe also conferred two people with doctor of philosophy degrees, one of them being the late VP Nkomo.
Former Cabinet minister, Gorden Moyo, graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in African Leadership Development, which was awarded for the first time in the history of the institution.
The university also awarded a Master of Science degree in Insurance and Risk Management and Master of Urban Design for the first time.
Nust Vice Chancellor Professor Lindela Ndlovu said the institution had increased enrolment in science and engineering through introduction of new and parallel programmes.
He said in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transmission, the institution has initiated a number of programmes such as the Mineral Asset Beneficiation through the proposed Gwanda State University, a Masters Degree in Eco-tourism and Biodiversity and a Masters in Financial Engineering.
“Through our techno park, we have encouraged student entrepreneurship and we now have four student businesses,” said Prof Ndlovu.
He said the institution introduced NeoLab technology and an entrepreneurship training programme that had spawned start up companies that include SheCodes MITTAPP, a social entrepreneurial start up company.
Prof Ndlovu said Nust had also formed GNAC, a start up company working on multi-platform mobile application development and PAYWALLET Group working on mobile payment applications.
He said the Nust Solar Power Pack involved installing a power demonstration plant that would produce sufficient energy during the day to power the institution.
“The Faculty of Industrial Technology has also acquired a solar training trailer to be used in training communities. In Electronic engineering, we are cooperating with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority on energy efficient Control and Monitoring Systems which we hope will help us save on electricity use,” said Prof Ndlovu.
“Through the same department, we are collaborating with Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to set up a communications training laboratory for our students and industry at large. Finally we have acquired state of the art equipment for applied genetic analysis which has an ability to do all genetic analysis using advanced molecular genetics.”
Prof Ndlovu said he was glad that a third of the graduates were post graduates.
He expressed hope of witnessing more post graduates and PhDs in the future.
“This is indeed in line with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development policy that we should engage more postgraduate training to improve research capacity in the county,” he said.
Prof Ndlovu said of the undergraduates, 38 percent were female while 62 percent were male.
He said the post graduate programme had 65 percent of the graduating lot being male and 35 percent female.
He said the institution was working towards achieving gender equality in its representation of students.
Prof Ndlovu urged the new graduates to look further than a degree.
“. . . Go out and shine and remember you are a Nust family member, so think in several boxes simultaneously. Innovation and entrepreneurship are the key to Zimbabwe’s recovery and you are at the forefront of that as young people.”
The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Dr Olivia Muchena, Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Cde Andrew Langa, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo Provincial ministers Cdes Abednicho Ncube and Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo.