President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the prioritisation of infrastructure investment at tertiary institutions to ensure the nation produces well rounded graduates who can compete on the global market.

He was addressing members of the academia, investors, bankers and student leaders at the Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure Investment Conference at the HICC in the capital today.

The President spoke of the public private partnerships (PPPs) and built-operate-transfer (BOT) as models which can be adopted in infrastructure development in higher education institutions.

“We need to prioritise infrastructure investment at colleges and universities for future generations to produce well rounded graduates for the global market,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President, who is the Chancellor of State Universities, noted that government is committed to developing education through welcoming investment in higher and tertiary education.

“The initiative to invest in universities has received tremendous response from investors, both domestic and foreign,” he said.

The Chancellor says Zimbabwe’s education has been able to compete globally but the missing link has been infrastructure development.

President Mnangagwa said the Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure Investment Conference comes a few hours after he addressed captains of industry who are the beneficiaries of human capital from tertiary institutions.

He urged the private sector to provide scholarships to tertiary students.

Turning to student issues, President Mnangagwa commended the student representative for articulating the students’ wish list and promised to look into their concerns.

The Minister of  Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira spoke about the need for modern accommodation for students and staff at universities and colleges, adding that the conference seeks to construct the future that “we desire – to produce graduates who can can in turn produce goods and services.”

Professor Murwira said universities must be revenue centres not cost centres, saying this can only be possible “if we construct the required infrastructure”.

The Minister highlighted that government respects property rights and urged the construction sector to tap into opportunities provided by the need for requisite infrastructure at universities and colleges.

Banking institutions partnering the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education were in attendance and outlined the funding models and options for tertiary intuitions.

Representatives of universities and colleges also got an opportunity to table infrastructure requirements for tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe including modern libraries, lecture rooms, ECD blocks, clinics, state of-the-art sporting facilities and students and staff accommodation.