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Mnangagwa installed GSU Chancellor, caps first graduands

by Staff reporter
19 Nov 2022 at 06:23hrs | Views
GWANDA State University (GSU)witnessed the installation of President Mnangagwa as its first Chancellor and the capping of 15 pioneer students at the institution's inaugural graduation ceremony yesterday.

The graduation ceremony for the newest university was held at GSU Epoch Mine Campus, in Insiza, Matabeleland South.

The university was conceptualised in 2012 before it started operating in 2015 as a university college under the National University of Science and Technology (Nust). The university then was established in 2016 through an Act of Parliament and was mandated to specialise in veterinary sciences, irrigation engineering and management, mining engineering, environmental engineering and ecosystems restoration in line with its location in Matabeleland South.

While the university is operating from the disused Epoch Mine, and has renovated buildings and housing to ensure all students and staff can be accommodated for courses there, it has land in Gwanda Town where its main campus will be established.

Yesterday, was a day of celebration in Matabeleland South with the university graduating its first group of students.

First President Mnangagwa was garbed with the GSU Chancellor's gown before presiding over the graduation ceremony.

Professor Doreen Zandile Moyo was installed as the university's Vice-Chancellor.

It was a celebratory day for a culturally diverse Matabeleland South as poets, Imbube ensemble groups and traditional amabhiza dancers entertained the guests.

President Mnangagwa said it was historic for Matabeleland South to have a university in its backyard.

He paid tribute to late national heroes Vice President John Landa Nkomo and Professor Phineas Makhurane as well as Zanu-PF Women's League deputy secretary and former Minister Angelina Masuku for their roles towards the establishment of the university.

Values and principles of innovation, integrity, innovativeness, and excellence among others should guide the new university.

"The establishment of GSU is the culmination of a bold policy of having at least one State university in each of the country's 10 provinces. This is echoed by our quest to realise development that leaves no one and no place behind. It is also an acknowledgement that education is a right that should be accessed by our citizenry, no matter where one lives," said President Mnangagwa.

He said it was now up to the community to ensure their children are enrolled at the university.

"Yekelani abantwana bezofunda lapha," said the President, adding that the province should now strengthen the teaching of subjects, construct laboratories and relevant facilities that will see students advance in science, technology and innovation-related fields.

"Under the Second Republic, those with talent are being rewarded and supported. I, therefore, challenge young people in Matabeleland South and the nation as a whole to dream big and realise their full potential," he said.

His Government supported the growth of higher and tertiary institutions as these were a key to national development.

"It is noteworthy that the university has developed key infrastructure in a short space of time through ingenuity, and prudent and timely use of available financial resources. Well done. Your efforts led to the phenomenal transformation of this campus. Going forward, the student population growth must always be in tandem with infrastructure development at all our institutions of higher learning," said President Mnangagwa.

"To this end, the Second Republic is determined to grow the higher and tertiary education sector as the bedrock for scientific, technological and innovation-driven modernisation and industrialisation in our country."

He said through heritage-based Education 5.0 the country will leap-frog towards development.

President Mnangagwa said the continent is now benefiting from Zimbabwe's skills development.

"To this end, this week, I was pleased to send off a team of specialist doctors to participate under the ‘Love without Reason Cleft Lip and Palate Surgical Camp' in Kisumu, Kenya. As a nation, we are proud that our education and health delivery systems have trained skilled doctors of high calibre who also care about humanity to a level where they undertake philanthropic missions to sister republics on the continent of Africa. Such patriotic and pan-African attitudes should be emulated not only by others in the medical profession but across all professions," he said

President Mnangagwa challenged universities including GSU to come up with strategies that enable institutions to become specialist centres.

He called on GSU to coordinate partnerships in the agriculture and mining sector to produce cutting-edge breakthroughs for the country.

"The domestication of mining sector value chains through value addition and beneficiation must see the university registering its footprint in this respect. Focus must also be on providing graduates and academics with appropriate ecosystems to develop relevant technologies that meet the unique realities of the institution's mandate area. The collaboration between GSU and the Russian State Geological and Mining University is a commendable initiative," said President Mnangagwa.

GSU Vice Chancellor Prof Moyo said 15 students were graduating from the institution since it became a standalone institution.

"Today, the first cohort of 15 GSU graduates from the Faculty of Natural Resources Management and Agriculture will be graduating with degrees in crop science and animal science. Of these nine, which translates to 60 percent, are females while six which translates to 40 percent are males. The last group of engineering students under the GSU and Nust collaboration graduated last week at Nust. To date, GSU has graduated 123 students under Nust," said Prof Moyo.

She said the university had a 442-student population while its staff is advancing in academic qualification with seven of them attaining post-doctorate degrees this year.

Two best graduating students Qhelani Nyoni and Sandra Masuku walked away with the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor's Award and were gifted with US$1000.

Prof Moyo said the university is committed to implementing National Development Strategy 1 which is a step towards the attainment of vision 2030.

Several developments had been lined up at the institution with construction of the Gwanda Campus starting next year.

"To date, 25 student blocks that accommodate 500 students and 15 housing units blocks that accommodate 60 families have been renovated. I'm pleased to let you know that these refurbishments have enabled the university to accommodate all its students and staff at the Epoch Mine Campus. Renovations of the remaining buildings will be completed in the coming year and will accommodate a further 100 students and 20 families.

Source - The Herald