Saturday, 2 November 2019

ED CAPS 4 936 GREAT ZIMBABWE UNI GRADUATES


President Mnangagwa yesterday conferred degrees to 4 936 graduates at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s 13th graduation ceremony held at the institution’s main campus.

The graduates were drawn from six faculties — the Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences; Munhumutapa School of Commerce; Julius Nyerere School of Social Sciences; Robert Mugabe School of Education; Simon Muzenda School of Arts Culture and Heritage Studies; and Herbert Chitepo Law School.

Sixteen lawyers who graduated from the Herbert Chitepo Law School were the first crop to be churned out from the university’s law school, which has earned global rave reviews for impressive performances at various Moot Court competitions worldwide. Out of those capped yesterday, 4 301 were undergraduates, while 635 were postgraduates.

The university’s first doctoral graduate, Dr Herbert Zirima — who is a lecturer at GZU — was also capped after successfully completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology.

There was a 26 percent jump in the total number of graduates this year compared to 3 916 last year. Fifty-eight percent of those capped were women. 

There were also 224 international students drawn mainly from the SADC region.

In his address, GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo said the institution now had an enrolment of 16 300 students, out of whom 13 979 are undergraduate, while 2 331 are pursuing postgraduate studies.

The staff complement has similarly risen to 1 011 permanent staff — 364 teaching staff and 647 non-teaching staff.

“Of the total staff complement, 40 percent are female. We are making a conscious effort to increase the number of female members of staff through our recruitment processes. We now have 97 PhD holders amongst our staff, 14 of whom obtained their PhDs this year. We have realised a total percentage increase in PhD holders of 11,5 percent since 2018.

“In addition, we now have 11 full professors and 18 associate professors,’’ he said.

GZU, which is building a medical school to cover the critical skills gap in the health sector, challenged Government to upgrade Masvingo Provincial Hospital to prepare for an envisaged tie-up that would enhance teaching and learning.
  
The medical school, Prof Zvobgo said, 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. It will be backed by a strong pharmaceutical studies department, he said.

GZU is presently involved in multi-disciplinary research in and around the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Chivi in  conjunction with the local community.

Furthermore,it is  spearheading efforts to stimulate sugarcane production in the Lowveld by training new farmers to improve yields.

Accordingly, the institution has begun offering a degree in soil and plant science.

“Our efforts for capacity development of sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi and Triangle have begun to bear fruit. I am pleased to report that there has been a marked increase in sugarcane production, with sugarcane farmers who are or have been our students contributing between 30 and 33 percent of the cane used to manufacture sugar,” said Prof Zvobgo.

There has also been a shift, he added, to entrepreneurship programmes in conjunction with the university’s alumni. Yesterday’s graduation was graced by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira, State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira and senior Government officials.

Separately, President Mnangagwa also received a five-star statue of himself that was carved in his honour by renowned Masvingo artist Mr Silvester Mugari. 

The statue, made from granite rock, was handed over to the President by Minister Chadzamira at Masvingo Airport soon after the Head of State and Government landed in the city to preside over the 13th Great Zimbabwe University graduation ceremony in his capacity as Chancellor.

Mr Mugari took two years to complete the statue, which weighs 2,4 tonnes and is 2,5 metres high. It also has a width of 1,2 metres.

He began work soon after President Mnangagwa assumed power in November 2017.

Presenting the statue to the President, Cde Chadzamira said the statue symbolised Masvingo’s revered position as a cradle of Zimbabwe’s national heritage. Sunday Mail

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