In his address at Great Zimbabwe University’s 13th Graduation Ceremony held at the University’s Main Campus on Saturday, 2 November 2019, the Vice Chancellor said that while infrastructure remains a key requisite for the promotion of effective learning, teaching and research, the University’s focus has now shifted to creating goods and services for the turn-around of the country’s economic fortunes.
“We are constantly reviewing and re-directing our curriculum to achieve this goal knowing fully well that the future of the nation lies in the ability of universities to become agents of industrialization. We are now paying special attention to creativity, innovation and industrialization,” said Professor Zvobgo.
He said that the University was cogniszant of the importance of setting up an innovation hub which will help turn ideas into businesses and had therefore completed groundwork for the establishment of an innovation hub at the Mashava Campus.
The Vice Chancellor said that the new higher education dispensation demands universities to demonstrate evidence of higher education’s contribution towards the transformation of the economy of the country.
” In this agenda of transformation, Great Zimbabwe University has identified its natural niche of food security in order to ensure that this nation is fed and nourished. For us, food comes first and therefore we must lay our emphasis on feeding the masses. Our second focus is the health of the people and for this purpose, we are in the process of completing a medical school of note. Our emphasis is on impacting the lives of the people. It is no longer business as usual; what we train and what we teach must impact the lives of the people” he said.
He said that in terms of food security the University’s efforts towards the capacity development of sugar cane farmers in Chiredzi and Triangle had begun to bear fruit. The Vice Chancellor added that the farmers’ capacity development programme had resulted in a marked increase in sugar cane production, with sugar cane farmers linked to the programme contributing between 30% and 33% of the cane used to manufacture sugar.
He said that as efforts heat up for the setting up of a Centre of Excellence in Dry Land Agriculture in Chivi, the Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences will, early next year, host an international workshop on Dry Land Agriculture. The aim of the workshop will be to enhance the capacities of key stakeholders across Africa to effectively integrate issues of dry land agriculture into sustainable development for sub-Saharan Africa.
The Vice Chancellor said that in response to the critical skills gap in the medical sciences, the University is at an advanced stage in the construction of a medical school in Masvingo.
“We are calling on Government to upgrade Masvingo Provincial Hospital in readiness to partner the Medical school for teaching and learning purposes,” he said.
Professor Zvobgo said that the establishment of the School of Medicine at Great Zimbabwe University is important in order to address the critical shortage of medical specialists in the country. The medical school which will be backed by a strong pharmaceutical studies department would strive to produce doctors who value the sanctity of life to such an extent that they would not abandon patients whatever the circumstances might be, said the Vice Chancellor.
Professor Zvobgo hailed the Government, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Law Society and Council for Legal Education for partnering with the University in ensuring that the Herbert Chitepo Law produces top notch graduates. He said the law school, whose first crop of lawyers graduated at the ceremony, was continuously hitting the headlines for winning trophies at moot court competitions right round the world.
The Vice Chancellor congratulated graduates and said that their graduation was a fruit of hard work and sacrifice. He urged them to continuously aim for higher academic qualifications.