Zimbabwe: President Installs Gwanda State University Chancellor Caps First Graduands
Gwanda State University (GSU) witnessed the installation of President Mnangagwa as the first Chancellor and the capping of 15 pioneering students at the institution’s inaugural graduation ceremony yesterday.
The graduation ceremony for the new university was held at GSU Epoch Mine Campus, Insiza, Matabeleland South.
The university was conceptualized in 2012 before starting operation in 2015 as a university college under the National University of Science and Technology (Nust). The university was then established in 2016 by an Act of Parliament and was mandated to specialize in veterinary science, irrigation engineering and management, mining engineering, environmental engineering and land restoration. ecosystems in accordance with its location in Matabeleland South.
While the university operates out of the disused Epoch mine and has renovated buildings and accommodation to ensure that all students and staff can be housed there for classes, it does own land in the town of Gwanda 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 dressed in the GSU Chancellor’s robe before presiding over the graduation ceremony.
Professor Doreen Zandile Moyo has been appointed vice-chancellor of the university.
It was a day of celebration for a culturally diverse South Matabeleland as poets, Imbube ensembles and traditional Amabhiza dancers entertained guests.
President Mnangagwa said it was historic for Matabeleland South to have a university in its backyard.
He paid tribute to the late national heroes, Vice President John Landa Nkomo and Professor Phineas Makhurane as well as Deputy Secretary of the Zanu PF Women’s League and former Minister Angelina Masuku for their role in establishing the ‘university.
The values and principles of innovation, integrity, innovation 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 echoes our quest to achieve development that leaves no one or place behind. It is also a recognition that education is a right that our citizens should have access to, wherever they live,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said it is now up to the community to ensure their children are enrolled in college.
“Yekelani abantwana bezofunda lapha,” the president said, adding that the province should now strengthen subject teaching, build laboratories and relevant facilities that will enable students to advance in fields related to science, technology and innovation.
“Under the Second Republic, those with talent are rewarded and supported. So I challenge the young people of Matabeleland South and the nation as a whole to dream big and achieve their full potential,” he said .
His government supports the growth of institutions of higher and tertiary education, as these are essential to national development.
“It is noteworthy that the university has developed key infrastructure in a short time through ingenuity and careful and timely use of available financial resources. Well done. Your efforts have led to the phenomenal transformation of this campus. Going forward, student population growth must always go hand in hand with infrastructure development in all our higher education institutions,” President Mnangagwa said.
“To this end, the Second Republic is determined to develop the higher and tertiary education sector as the foundation for the scientific, technological and innovation-driven modernization and industrialization of our country.”
He said that through heritage-based Education 5.0, the country will leap forward in development.
President Mnangagwa said the continent was now benefiting from Zimbabwe’s skills development.
“To that end, this week I had the pleasure of sending a team of medical specialists to participate in the Love without Reason Cleft Lip and Palate Surgical Camp in Kisumu, Kenya. As a nation, we are proud that our education and health care delivery systems have produced high caliber qualified doctors who also care about humanity to such a degree that they undertake philanthropic missions in the sister republics of the African continent. These patriotic attitudes and should be emulated not only by other members of the medical profession but in all professions,” he said.
President Mnangagwa challenged universities, including GSU, to come up with strategies for institutions to become centers of expertise.
He called on the GSU to coordinate partnerships in the agriculture and mining sectors to produce cutting-edge breakthroughs for the country.
“The domestication of mining sector value chains through value addition and beneficiation must see the university register its footprint in this regard. Emphasis must also be placed on providing graduates and scholars with appropriate ecosystems to develop relevant technologies that respond to the unique realities of the institution’s mandate area.. The collaboration between GSU and the Russian University of Geology and Mining is a commendable initiative,” said President Mnangagwa.
GSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Moyo said 15 students have graduated from the institution since it became an autonomous institution.
“Today, the first cohort of 15 GSU graduates from the Faculty of Natural Resource Management and Agriculture will graduate with crop and animal science degrees. Of these nine, or 60 percent, are women, while that six, or 40%, are male. The latest batch of engineering students under the GSU and Nust collaboration graduated last week from Nust. To date, GSU has graduated 123 students in the framework of Nust,” Professor Moyo said.
She said the university has 442 students, while its staff are progressing in academic qualifications, with seven earning post-doctoral degrees this year.
Two top graduate students Qhelani Nyoni and Sandra Masuku walked away with the Chancellor Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa award and received US$1,000.
Professor Moyo said the university is committed to implementing the National Development Strategy 1, which is a step towards achieving the 2030 vision.
Several developments had been planned at the institution with the construction of the Gwanda campus starting next year.
“To date, 25 student blocks that can accommodate 500 students and 15 housing unit blocks that can accommodate 60 families have been renovated. I am pleased to let you know that these renovations have enabled the university to accommodate all of its students. and its staff at the Epoch Mine Campus Renovations to the remaining buildings will be completed over the coming year and will accommodate an additional 100 students and 20 families.