George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The Second Republic will continue prioritising the completion of infrastructural projects to stimulate economic growth and ensure the practice cascades to all institutions and sectors across the country for the speedy realisation of Vision 2030 targets, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
He said Zimbabwe was on a giant leap forward towards becoming an upper middle income society, buoyed by ongoing infrastructural developments taking place in various parts of the country.
He made the remarks at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences where he was laying the foundation stone, which is now 95 percent complete.
Before that, he had conferred degrees and certificates on 4 652 graduates at GZU’s 15th graduation ceremony held at the Robert Mugabe School of Education.
President Mnangagwa, who is the GZU Chancellor, only physically capped 65 graduates while the rest followed proceedings virtually in observance of Covid-19 rules and regulations.
Out of the 65 who were physically capped, one is a Doctor of Philosophy graduate, seven Masters’ and 57 undergraduate students.
The highlight of the graduation ceremony was when the President stood up during the capping of graduates and shook hands with Success Berejena, a first class Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting student who bagged nine awards for academic excellence.
In his speech at the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the President rallied the country’s universities to spearhead Zimbabwe’s quest to keep pace with the rest of the continent that is experiencing the “innovation revolution”.
Infrastructural development, said the President, was the cornerstone of the Second Republic’s mantra of inclusive growth as the nation angles for Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy.
“My Government remains unwavering in its commitment to complete key infrastructure projects towards the realisation of Vision 2030. This culture must transcend to all institutions, local authorities and across all sectors and communities.”
He challenged universities to be the arrowhead of the nation’s onslaught to keep up pace with the ongoing “innovation revolution” sweeping across Africa and beyond.
The President said the Government was investing even in infrastructural development in the health sector to ensure citizens access quality healthcare.
He commended projects such as the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences saying they were being replicated in other parts of the country as the Second Republic forges ahead with the drive to attain inclusive growth.
“This project (at the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences) is therefore a giant leap forward not only for the university, but indeed the province and the nation as a whole in that such infrastructure gives impetus to our quest to attain universal health coverage.
“This will in turn improve access to quality hospitals and healthcare by our communities. The construction of such facilities across all parts of the country amplifies my Government’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged local universities to register patents and trademarks, saying institutions of higher learning should undergird the nation’s innovation, modernisation and industrialisation agenda.
Universities were also supposed to generate knowledge for the production of goods and services for the nation.
However, this is supposed to be done without totally ignoring the country’s rich cultural heritage, which is supposed to be infused with all innovations and academic research.
President Mnangagwa noted that GZU deserved praise for ongoing work on the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which would be handy upon completion at a time when the nation is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
He challenged the university to finish the outstanding works on the school, as that is the culture of the Second Republic.
The President warned against the silo mentality, which he said has no place in his Government, adding that unity and working in common purpose were the keys to quickly achieving Vision 2030 goals.
The Government, according to President Mnangagwa, will continue restructuring and transforming the country’s health sector for it to be more people-oriented and vibrant, especially after the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He lauded GZU for its plans to explore the development of traditional medicine at the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine.
The move, said the President, would make drugs cheaper and readily available, thereby boosting the health delivery system in Zimbabwe.
The medical school also dovetails with Government’s decentralisation agenda, which seeks to bridge the urban/rural gap in the sphere of healthcare.
GZU and other local universities were challenged to train doctors that are loyal, patriotic and willing to serve the nation.
The President said innovation hubs at universities should bring tangible results that transform communities. GZU got special praise from the President for naming all its schools after eminent African liberation heroes.
In his remarks at the event, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the shift to Education 5.0 should help Zimbabwe shift from producing clinicians only, but expand to making drugs.
His said training with a focus on pharmaceutical sciences would make the nation self-reliant on drugs and cut the huge import bill incurred by the nation on drugs and medicines.
A new Biomedical Engineering degree will help in the nation’s quest to be self-reliant on drugs.
Earlier on, GZU Vice Chancellor, Professor Rungano Zvobgo, had revealed during the graduation ceremony that the Simon Mazorodze School of Medicine and Health Sciences was one of GZU’s ongoing projects as it grows.
GZU is also establishing the School of Dryland Agriculture in Chivi to spearhead research on drought-tolerant crops and animal species in the face of climate change.