Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Polytechnics and universities across the country play a key role in the revival of defunct companies like Ziscosteel through innovations and proffering modern day solutions as opposed to imparting only academic knowledge, Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by principal director in the ministry Mrs Martha Muguti, during the 36th graduation ceremony at Kwekwe Polytechnic last Friday, Professor Murwira said the thrust in institutions of higher learning was to develop knowledge and skills through innovation and researches that answer every day questions.
“Under the new 5,0 design, graduates are expected to solve everyday life problems that confront real communities at real places in real time. For that to be achieved we expect to see tertiary institutions such as Kwekwe Poly producing industrialists rather than workers, manufacturers rather than money vendors, engineers rather than requistionists. You are expected to go and support the existing industry and create the new industry,” said Prof Murwira.
He said companies Ziscosteel should be resuscitated using local knowledge and resources if possible.
“I know it has become a common cliché that we resuscitate industry but my thinking is dissimilar to that common thread. My philosophy is not that we resuscitate Zisco, but we recreate Zisco because we will need to import tools and skills to keep it running. We need local knowledge from Kwekwe Polytechnic and sister institutions to lead the recreating of technology that will bring Zisco and other industries, mines up and running,” said Prof Murwira.
“The import culture and belief that everything should be imported should be done away with. Only when we start developing technologies using local resources, brains and capacity can we effectively and significantly cut on the import culture and hence the import bill thereby creating wealth for our nation which is currently reeling from the clutches of a heavy debt burden.”
He said his ministry was in the process of setting up initiatives to make sure that all institutions come up with plans of actions to join the fourth industrial revolution bandwagon.
“We need to know what tertiary institutions are working on. My ministry is at the forefront in setting up the initiatives to make sure all institutions set up plans and actions. We have to prepare this future that is already here,” he said.
Upskilling, said the minister, was the new way to go if the industry was to benefit from its own (citizens).
“We need all our staff members to be up to speed with the changing digital developments and technologies to appreciate the internet side of things and all new thinking driven by digital technologies and artificial intelligence,” said Prof Murwira.
A total of 1 208 graduates received certificates and diplomas from the engineering and applied sciences as well as from the commerce divisions.
In his speech, Kwekwe Poly principal Mr Evans Musara said the institution had already formed partnerships with the corporate world in a bid to help produce fully-fledged graduates.