Source: Produce industrialists, varsities challenged | The Herald 29 JAN, 2020
Conrad Mupesa Herald Correspondent
Universities and colleges have a mandate to modernise and industrialise Zimbabwe to revive the economy for the benefit of the people through a new breed of industry-oriented graduates, a Cabinet Minister said recently.
Addressing councillors during the commissioning of 16 members of the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) Fourth Council last week, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said as the nation drifts towards a middle-income economy by 2030, universities in the country should change their thrust and help industrialise the nation.
Prof Murwira said it was high time the nation moved away from the colonial mentality of producing graduates with a worker’s mindset and focus on producing industrialists.
“Our universities must produce industries emanating from their work.
“Higher and tertiary education institutions must industrialise this nation,” Prof Murwira said.
“This is the duty. However, for them to do so, our higher and tertiary education has to shake off the colonial yoke of producing a worker, not an industrialist.
“The purpose of the universities is not only to dish out papers, but to produce graduates with the knowledge of what they were taught and can be used to transform this nation into an economic giant.”
The minister said there was no reason for the graduates and the nation to brag about their academic achievements without benefits for the country.
“We cannot brag of our education when we are importing medicines and exporting patients,” he said.
“Our pharmacists are busy selling imported medicines when in actual fact we thought we trained them to make medicines. Medicine is made from herbs, bushes and trees that are found in the wild, which we have in abundance”
He challenged universities and intellectuals to come up with workable and feasible ideas to unshackle the nation from the yoke of colonialism.
“Universities should have purpose and benefits as a way of producing goods and services, thus, the existence of any higher and tertiary education institution must, therefore, be premised on the purpose and benefits it provides.
“In essence, it must be premised on the goods and services that it provides the industry with.”
He urged the new council to transform the institution into a fountain of ideas, just like what was done at Stanford University in the United States, which produced the famous Silicon Valley region in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California that serves as a global centre for high technology, innovation and social media.
CUT is being transformed into a hub of agricultural innovation where cattle breeding has started taking shape as part of efforts to restock the country’s herd.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said the university was on the right track in terms of President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.
“Over the years we have seen great programmes, rather flagship programmes of a national outlook being launched at CUT.
“The university has proved its capabilities as a centre for higher learning with practical solutions for the nation.
“Projects like the artificial insemination plant and the agro-industrial plant that is manufacturing vaccines and livestock feeds.
“These are visionary programmes that we are proud of and expect the incoming management to support,” Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said.
In his remarks, CUT Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi urged the newly-appointed council members to work hard in accordance with the institution’s metamorphosis era and the nation’s innovation and industrialisation agenda.
The 16-member team comprising mostly engineers is headed by Engineer Martin Munuwa, who is deputised by Professor Idah Sithole Nian.