Ride on engagement drive, varsities told President Mnangagwa is being conducted a distance Visual Acuity (VA) test by Mr Takundaishe Mupeni a 3rd year Optometry student at Bindura University of Science Education yesterday. VA test is used as an assessment of how a patient sees without any correction or spectacles.-Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

Universities and other institutions of higher learning should use the policy of engagement and reengagement followed by Government to pursue skills transfer and adopt technology that will improve the plight of people, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.

Officiating at the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) graduation ceremony, the President said universities must use their twinning arrangements with other tertiary institutions in the region and beyond to modernise their work through innovation and research.

President Mnangagwa, who is Chancellor of the university, capped 1 347 graduates physically and virtually, before heading to the university’s farm near Shamva, where he commissioned BUSE’s Goat Genetics and Artificial Insemination Centre which breeds exotic and indigenous goats. The President then officially opened the institution’s optometry clinic.

At the clinic, he stressed the need for cooperation.

“Riding on our country’s engagement and reengagement policy framework, the university is urged to carry on pursuing skills transfer and the adoption of appropriate technologies to improve the plight of our people,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I am advised that Bindura University has partnered the Cape Coast University of Ghana in this project. This Pan-African collaboration must continue as we strive to develop and modernise our African institutions and economies leveraging on our collective abilities.

“I would like to assure you of my Government’s full support for the industrial production of affordable eye lenses and frames.”

Universities were key drivers of Government’s modernisation, industrialisation and overall economic growth.

“Universities must accelerate their response to the country’s development priorities, through combined provision of higher education, ongoing skills training and bustling research that produces inventions, new technologies and industries,” said President Mnangagwa.

The university should continue prioritising the sodium silicate production project given it’s cross-cutting use in preservation purposes, cement production, proofing of walls and fabrics.

President Mnangagwa was excited by innovations being undertaken by the university such as the goat research and artificial insemination project as it was an important enabler in the implementation of the Presidential Livestock Inputs Support Programme and Livestock Growth and Recovery Plan.

BUSE was also commended for the development of natural products and livestock drug discovery clusters such as the development of a cure for Newcastle disease, anti-fungal medicine, ethno-veterinary pesticides and bio-pesticides for tick control.

“To this end, livestock drug availability and the development of affordable stock feeds, coupled with livestock husbandry practices will enable us to enhance the commercial value of our livestock,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The goat breeding project and attendant value addition interventions will go a long way towards ensuring broad-based empowerment, wealth creation and lifting millions out of poverty within our society. As such, the project must be deployed towards the realisation of robust and vibrant rural industry systems supported by livestock production and related development of modern animal handling facilities.”

He described the optometry clinic as the first of its kind within a university in the country and hoped that it will improve access to specialised eye care and applicable visual services for communities, adding that it was an intervention towards inclusive health service delivery.

“I encourage the clinic management to nurture strategic and collaborative partnerships in undertaking clinical research on optometry services and other health conditions,” he said.

Earlier Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said Zimbabwe’s future was bright given the innovations being championed by institutions of higher learning, consistent with the leadership of President Mnangagwa, in attainment of Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy.

He said the goat breeding project and the optometry clinic were evidence of the success of the Government’s thrust of innovation work through Education 5.0, which emphasises the transformation from production of ideas to products.

Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Monica Mavhunga said the achievement registered by BUSE were not only good for the province but for the entire country.

She applauded President Mnangagwa for the projects initiated in her province such as Pfumvudza and others, saying they had gone a long way in mitigating the challenges confronting the people.

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