Varsities to take practicals seriously: Minister

Source: Varsities to take practicals seriously: Minister | Sunday News (local news)

Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
UNIVERSITIES have been urged to expose students to practicals rather than theory only so that they can fully grasp the Education 5.0 based philosophy centred on shaping future technology through innovation and industrialisation.

Speaking during a tour of Chemical Technology Africa manufacturer of Sanite detergents and products in Donnington Industrial Site in Bulawayo yesterday, Minister of State in Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga’s office, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said universities should give students exposure by visiting companies that were in production.

“Universities such as the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) should be invited to bring students here so that they can see and learn what is being done in the production industry. That is why Government introduced Education 5.0 because we do not want people who do only theory, we want practice as well so they should do both,” said Dr Ndlovu.

She said the Government was working on replicating what they saw in other countries like Japan, where universities innovate from market development, branding and right up to production. The Minister said there was a need for universities to produce qualified students who can become innovative  and create employment.

“Utilise innovation hubs so that students coming from universities should bring us new industries. We cannot remain stagnant as a country because of the old industries not working, but the education system should contribute to the need of new industries, production systems, equipment and technologies so that we can develop the country,” said Dr Ndlovu.

She commended the company for starting small using manual labour and moving to automation to scale up production, noting that anyone could start small and grow. The Minister said being innovative was a new way of creating jobs and urged unemployed youths to start small, engage in the automated production systems and with time increase their capacity to have high efficiency.

“We appreciate the processes of getting started in a new enterprise and growing that enterprise. Whilst we monitor and give feedback to President Mnangagwa on the production side on how many new companies are coming up,” said Dr Ndlovu.

Chemical Technology Africa founder and managing director Mr Liberty Nyathi said they were grateful for the tour by the Minister, as a young growing company and a new player on the market.

“We started small in 2018 but over the years we have grown. Most of the equipment we are using we managed to acquire through funds we got through the foreign exchange auction system. We intend to satisfy our regional market and beyond in terms of retail as we supply various products,” said Mr Nyathi.

The company supplies toilet cleaners, dishwashing liquid, sanitisers, acid bowl cleaner, heavy duty degreaser, hydrogen peroxide, floor and tile cleaner and pine disinfectant cleaner among others in various container measurements.

Mr Nyathi said they had capacity to produce about 5  000 litres per day with the filling machines doing 15  000 units per day.

“Currently doing as per order and also have buffer stocks in the warehouse. Our clients include the mines,  hospitals and churches, but we are working on being listed into more retail shops.”

However, he said as a growing SME they were being affected by collateral required when looking for loans from the banks to capacitate their operations.