ED in drive to promote innovation

Source: ED in drive to promote innovation | The Herald November 9, 2019

ED in drive to promote innovation
National University of Science and Technology Chancellor President Mnangagwa reads a plaque after opening the university’s gate house in the presence of university council chairperson Mr Alvord Mabhena, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira (clapping hands) and vice chancellor Professor Mqele Dlodlo. — Picture: Eliah Saushoma

Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau

President Mnangagwa says Government believes that through innovation, young people can leave a legacy of inventions which have global impact.

Officially commissioning the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Innovation Hub during the institution’s 25th graduation ceremony, the President said he was confident young people would rise to the occasion and respond to the nation’s technological challenges.

“We have faith in our young people. We introduced Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

(STEM). We are focusing on and supporting science and technology and the young. We would like to leave this country better than we found it. I also believe that the young people whom we are giving this opportunity will leave a legacy of inventions for Zimbabweans.

“I’ve no doubt that our young people can compete with any other institutions’ the world over. We have very bright young girls and boys in our institutions. The duty of my Government and administration is to give facilitation, assist them to develop and apply their talents to the full. We guarantee you that,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said through innovation hubs, brilliant ideas and innovations produced in the laboratories and lecture rooms would never suffer stillbirths.

“As I moved around at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)the last two years or so, I saw many interesting inventions by students from Nust, from Chinhoyi University of Technology and other universities displayed but it ends there, no progression to commercialising those inventions. We have established now a process where those who have ideas can translate them from being mere ideas to reality through these innovation hubs. And from here go and practice these inventions at the industrial park,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said as the prototypes are transformed for commercialisation at the industrial park, the country and the innovator will make money which will lead to the development of the nation.

“We believe that every single country has its own peculiar situation which requires us who belong to that country to examine ourselves, apply ourselves, develop our country on the basis of what we have. Yes indeed we have to borrow, we have to acquire, we have to procure, we have to buy from outside the skills and technologies which we do not have, but it is also possible through such innovation hubs to develop products and services to serve ourselves, our nation, develop and transform our countries, ourselves.”

The President said his Government was taking education to new levels.

Speaking at the same event, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, his ministry was championing a vibrant innovation system to drive the industrialisation and modernisation agenda for the country.

He said through Innovation Education 5.0, higher and tertiary education will provide goods and services premised on the heritage-based system.

Prof Murwira said Government this year released $20 million to the country’s universities to support research and innovation at innovation hubs.

“Your Excellency, today you are commissioning an innovation hub at Nust which is the fourth pillar of Education 5.0 and I’m pleased to report to you that to date your Government is funding research at the University of Zimbabwe, CUT, Harare Institute of Technology, Midlands State University and here at Nust,” he said.

“We have now released $20 million, only in 2019, for research to make the hubs operational. Your Excellency, we know that according to your direction you told us that students with good projects should not go when they finish at UZ. They should remain and be at the university. I’m happy to report to you that we heeded your call and released $3,3m to keep 22 students at UZ starting from this month until November next year so that they can do their innovations. We released that money last week.”

Prof Murwira said his ministry was employing a heritage-based philosophy for the transformation of the country.

“The materials in Zimbabwe matter; plants, animals, minerals, human resources as well as anything that is found in this country can be used to advance this country and move it forward in all facets of life. The heritage-based philosophy is indeed a liberation philosophy.”

The Nust innovation hub houses software developers and the Applied Genetics Testing Centre (DNA) lab whose officials explained to the President some of their works and planned initiatives to respond to national challenges.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Judith Ncube, Nust Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo, university council chairperson Engineer Alvord Mabena, among other officials, attended the innovation hub launch which also saw the President touring the state-of-the-art equipment installed at the hub.