Walter Nyamukondiwa Mashonaland West Bureau
Vice Chancellors of State universities have pledged to complement Government’s economic revival initiatives through promoting research and development in technology.
Zimbabwe Universities Vice Chancellors Association chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje said the new era of socio-economic revival being spearheaded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa needed import substitution initiatives. Universities play a pivotal role in the social and economic development of the country and they are agents of industrialisation, modernisation and transformation, said Prof Mwenje.
“As higher education, we are prepared to play our part in the new era of socio-economic revival of the country. Meaningful and sustainable development is hinged on research, innovation and commercialisation.” Prof Mwenje said universities wanted to champion development of technologies that would add value and reduce dependency on imports. This, Prof Mwenje said, required an enabling legal framework and financial support.
“Science and technology has anchored the development of countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, India, China and Brazil, and Zimbabwe needs to benchmark its strategies and approaches on their experiences,” said Prof Mwenje.
“Their success resulted in massive support for the higher education sector to come up with solutions to societal and industrial challenges.” President Mnangagwa recently said development of the country required technologically savvy youths, who would be able to proffer solutions to 21st Century challenges. Chinhoyi University of Technology Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi said the country’s higher education systems needed ISO-certification.
“It certifies the attainment of world-agreed benchmarks in quality of services or products. It is our belief as a university (CUT) that ISO-certification of higher education systems not only prepares students for the job market, but is a prelude to innovation, ideation and creative thinking to provide solutions for the repair and maintenance of standardised and certified systems that either are home-grown or imported.”