By Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

President Mnangagwa yesterday conferred 3 927 with various undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at the University of Zimbabwe, and installed Professor Paul Mapfumo as the fifth vice chancellor of the institution.

The graduands were drawn from nine faculties of the university, with 3 132 graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees, 760 with masters degrees, 23 with doctor of philosophy and 12 with Masters of philosophy.

Officiating at the function, Professor Mapfumo said the university had come up with several initiatives to ensure it plays a role in the national development and attainment of the national Vision 2030.

“The university has since last year intensified its focus and energies on a transformative reconfiguration of our programming, our internal governance system, strategic partnerships, delivery methods and skilled human capital development, all in the contest of becoming a true leader in delivering on Government education 5.0 framework in pursuit of a clear national Vision 2013.

“We are much awake to the responsibilities that Government and society at large expects from the university,” he said.

He expressed appreciation to the President for launching the university’s strategic plan 2019 -2025 that enables the institution to pursue its vision of being recognised as the Zimbabwe and global centre of excellence in research and innovation in higher education and training by 2025.

“Our strategic plan provides scope for deepening technical skills and technological capabilities enabling creation of a new generation of innovative specialists and practitioners,” he said.

He said the university had for the first time established different key posts to improve service delivery and made strides in different areas, including the farm which realised a meaningful production despite last year’s drought.

“The university has registered seven new companies, including Vakanyika Private Limited, Incuhub Pvt Ltd and Njere Pvt Ltd that will serve as holding companies for subsidiary entities that will come from discoveries and products developed under research and industrial framework,” he said.

Prof Mapfumo said the university was going to introduce other new academic programmes and retire some so that it remains relevant.

“The university has strengthened its partnerships and collaborations with the private sector, which has seen it receiving several donations and financial support in different sectors.

“Demand for student accommodation continues to be a challenge, and the university is in serious discussion with external investors to construct hostels. There are other national companies that have offered other models we considering and our objective is to have at least 50 percent of the student population housed at the campus.

Prof Mapfumo said his installation as vice chancellor was critical as it came at a time when the country was charting new transformation, making universities more critical in developmental issues.

“Today is indeed a special day in my life. It is a day so significant to me, my family, friends and comrades who are here today to witness the commencement of my new journey and new chapter in my life as the 5th vice chancellor of this citadel of higher and tertiary education.

“This marks a whole new beginning in my professional career,” he said.


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