President Mugabe conferred degrees on 1 682 graduates including the first doctoral graduands at the 12th Chinhoyi University of Technology graduation ceremony.
The graduands successfully completed degrees in agricultural sciences and technology, art and design, engineering, business sciences management, hospitality and tourism, wildlife ecology and conservation and lifelong learning.
CUT Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi said there was need for substantial investment in human capital skills development in science, technology and engineering education from design through laboratory research experiments to product commercialisation.
“The current freeze on academic staff recruitment is further denting the many efforts, particularly at graduate or post-graduate levels where science, technology and engineering research results designed for Zimbabwe’s rapid industrial development as defined in Zim-Asset do not reach maturity.
“Furthermore, research by its nature is expensive as it requires the researcher and end user of the results to better define the funding model for sustainability.”
He said the transformative matrix requires academics with a strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) foundation.
The current science and engineering education, he said, were designed in principle to support repair and maintain skills development for raw material and primary product extraction for exportation.
“While the establishment of higher education institutions that include National University of Science and Technology, Harare Institute of Technology and Chinhoyi University of Technology is meant to bring forward Zimbabwe’s industrialisation needs, these Universities need more support with respect to appropriately trained science, technology and engineering education academics and the correct teaching and research laboratory environment.”
The university, he said, must create the appropriate research environment with adequate space to house research equipment and pilot scale product manufacturing plants. In these endeavours, our academics and researchers remain guided by National policy imperatives.
“It is most gratifying, Your Excellency and Chancellor, that the student enrolment in the science, technology and engineering disciplines is slowly increasing. To date the University has a total enrolment of 7 135 undergraduates of whom 34 percent are in science, technology and engineering driven disciplines.”
“In a period fraught with limited financial resources, the university through its academic and support staff has been able to produce human capital at the level required for industrialisation,” he said.
He said students in the departments of Mechatronics and Production Engineering, for example, have made their model aircraft, a drone and an automatic liquid bottling machine that senses volume and height before corking respectively.
Prof Simbi said the School of Engineering Science and Technology has made major strides in its postgraduate science, technology and engineering education by adopting learning approaches that bring into focus sustainable utilisation of energy resources without compromising the climate change agenda for sustainable development.
He said the graduation of 1 682 students represented an increase of 19 percent from last years’ figures including the first doctoral graduands all from the science, technology and engineering sector. Prof Simbi urged the graduands to use the knowledge they acquired to transform Zimbabwe for the better.
Among the graduands were The Sunday Mail Assistant Editor Nyakurerwa who graduated with a first class Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management coupled with several accolades.
Also capped were, Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire who also graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management together with former Herald reporter Tsungirirai Dhambuza.