‘Science and technology can anchor Zim industrialisation’
Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
SCIENCE and technology are critical to the realisation of the country’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda and tertiary institutions like the National University of Science and Technology are pivotal in that endeavour, President Mnangagwa has said.
Presiding over the 29th graduation ceremony at NUST in Bulawayo yesterday, the President expressed satisfaction with the infrastructural development impetus at the institution, saying gone are the days when colleges would outsource skills, but rather are now looking inwardly, in line with the philosophy “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo”.
While there was stagnation of development at NUST with many projects hanging in limbo, the advent of the Second Republic saw most of the projects taking off.
This year, the Government provided $10 billion to the university to support its infrastructural growth resulting in the university partially completing the construction of a Technovation Centre, building factory shells, assessing the structural integrity of the Library Building, and paving its front office courtyard.
President Mnangagwa, who earlier capped 2 996 graduates, toured the Technovation Centre to assess the progress made thus far on a project he laid the foundation stone only last year.
During the tour, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira informed the President that the centre would become the country’s biggest innovation hub.
Speaking to the media after the tour, President Mnangagwa said the model where institutions, including students, are actively involved in construction works must be replicated across the country.
Such a model puts into practice his philosophy that, “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo.”
President Mnangagwa said infrastructural development at the Technovation Centre has made him understand better the vision for NUST by its Vice Chancellor, Professor Mqhele Dlodlo.
“Last year, I did a tour of the same centre and this time around it’s totally different from what it was last year. A lot of improvements have been made, and it is now very clear as to the vision of what is going to be done.
“Last time when we came, yes, the Vice Chancellor had a vision in his mind but it was not easy to transfer it into my mind. But this time around it was easy. I could see what he had in mind,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I’m very proud, this is a result of former students and current students working together to build their institution. This is what we must do, this is what we must promote across the country. I’m very proud.”
The President said he was enthused that Zimbabwean students have realised that they are duty-bound to build their motherland.
“It’s a realisation that has come late because during my time in the 50s, we believed that other people build schools and we come in to learn. This has now changed. Young generations must commit themselves to build institutions they use themselves because Nyika inovakwa veneve vayo”.
President Mnangagwa said it is critical to develop science and technology-related infrastructure as it sets the tone for the country’s industrialisation agenda.
“An innovation hub is where ideas are removed from the mind and translated into a service or particular product, that is the way to go,” he said.
In her remarks during the graduation ceremony, NUST council chairperson, Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for supporting infrastructure development at NUST through budgetary allocations.
“Allow me Your Excellency to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for the support you have given to NUST. This year alone, we received over $10 billion, which has enabled us to deliver on the following infrastructure developments: 1. Technovation Centre, which has three blocks Block B, which is 95 percent complete, Block C, which is 70 percent complete and Block A, which is 57 percent complete,” she said.
“We completed the central library integrity assessment, construction of factory shells, which is ongoing, and our front-facing courtyard, which we call the plaza,” said Prof Majele Sibanda.
She said never before has NUST enjoyed financial support on infrastructure development as the Government provided this year.
NUST Vice Chancellor Prof Dlodlo said the ongoing infrastructure developments are transforming the university into a world-class learning institution. He said the university is keen on developing a smart campus driven by infrastructure development.
“Brick by brick, your university is developing and rebranding into a smart campus,” said Prof Dlodlo.
He said within a space of two years, through the remodelling of construction works, the university has done more than what private contractors had done in 15 years and the process saved up to US$200 000.