Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
The University of Zimbawbe presented 6 084 graduates yesterday to be capped by President Mnangagwa, with top undergraduate Munashe Gahadza who scored a record-breaking 40 distinctions out of a possible 44 courses, racing to a first class BSc Honours degree in Actuarial Science.
He also won the University of Zimbabwe Book Prize and was named the Faculty’s best graduating student and most consistent student. For his achievements, Gahadza won the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award for the best male undergraduate student earning a cash prize of US$1 000. The President topped this up with a further US$1 000 for his attainment of 40 distinctions.
Speaking after being capped by the President, he shared his delight with his family. “This is an achievement for me and my family. I dedicate this degree to my family and everyone who supported me since the beginning. I urge other students who are still pursuing their studies to continue to work hard. It is possible and you can achieve this,” he said.
His next step was to start his actuarial professional exams for him to become a qualified actuary. An actuary is a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty.
Top female undergraduate student Gamuchirai Bhiza also scored a first, becoming the first female student to attain a first class honours degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering.
For her efforts, Bhiza was awarded the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award for the best female undergraduate also with a cash prize of US$1 000 as well as the Women in Science & Engineering Award for the best female student.
The President commended the realisation of qualitative growth within the higher education sector through the introduction of new degree programmes.
“It is also commendable that 39 percent of the graduates were in the critical areas of natural and applied sciences, medicine, engineering and information and communication technology related disciplines. The future is in sciences and the University of Zimbabwe, along with other institutions of higher learning continues to propel this science-oriented education. After all, this is how developed countries overcame under-development,” he said.
The trailblazing initiative by the University to create three streams for start-ups was a welcome development as the approach was in sync with the Second Republic’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.
This would undoubtedly broaden the participation of more stakeholders in the country’s on-going innovation and industrialisation revolution.
The start-up programmes include the graduate innovator start up programme, the industry-based innovator start-up programme and the community-based innovator programme.
UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo said the University continued to make progress towards implementing its programme approach to research and innovation, underpinning the industrialisation thrust.
“The University of Zimbabwe has to date registered 21 start-up companies from its first cohort of graduates and interns and these are at various phases of business development. A number of private and public companies are now also coming on board to begin to collaborate with the University Innovation Hub and also with the faculties to produce at large scale and commercialise goods and services that are coming from the research and innovation, but particularly from the start-up companies,” he said.
The University has seamlessly linked teaching and learning to research, innovation and industrialisation to produce Education 5.0 graduates with new competencies that foster creativity, innovation and establishment of companies.
“The institution has championed new innovative methods of delivery in teaching and learning in order to migrate from theory-based classroom-based teaching and learning to more practical student-centred teaching and learning towards production of goods and services. This is not a mean feat in terms of managing the change and shifting the mindset; this is work in progress,” said Prof Mapfumo.