New institutions of higher learning in ZimbabweÂ should guard againstÂ replicatingÂ
existing universities, but should aim at developing human capital in well-defined and specific disciplines as required by the economic activities in areas where they are situated.
This was said by the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe, when he officiated at the inaugural graduation ceremony for Lupane State University (LSU).
President Mugabe, who was also installed as the first Chancellor of the university, said since agriculture is the mainstay of the countryâ€™s economy, Lupane State University should aim at improving agriculture science.
He said new and upcoming universities must continue to revisit and redefine their areas of specialisation and establish themselves as centers of excellence.
President Mugabe said government expects the university to use science and technology as a tool to reclaim the land, rehabilitate it and transform the Kalahari sands of Lupane and other parts of the country into productive land.
â€œLupane State University will be seen in the context of a technological culture that drives our socio-economic transformation through the mobilisation of existing and new knowledge in agriculture related technologies, in line with the mission of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,â€ said President Mugabe.
â€œThe university needs to focus on programmes that are geared towards the production of human capital. Government will expect to see science and technology being used as tools to reclaim the land and rehabilitate it for the good of the country.â€
He said this must lead to the revitalisation and growth of the agriculture sector through agro business development in defined crop and animal farming.
He said the establishment of the university underscores governmentâ€™s commitment in ensuring that university education is cascaded to the disadvantaged rural areas where the majority of Zimbabweans live.
President Mugabe later capped graduands from the agricultural and humanities and social sciences faculties.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe has unveiled the foundation stone at Lupane State University to officially mark the beginning of construction at the university site.
The unveiling was done in the presence of Vice President John Landa Nkomo, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Stan Mudenge and his Deputy, Senator Lutho Thaphela as well asÂ senior government and the university officials.
In his remarks at the inaugural graduation ceremony, President Mugabe expressed disappointment at the slow pace of construction of the university saying government attaches urgency and importance to the completion of capital projects at the institution.
He said government is mobilising more funds to start the construction of staff and students accommodation to enable the whole university to move to the site.
The university Vice Chancellor, Dr Mcklean Vhala, said the institution has continued to introduce new syllabie that are relevant to the job market despite challenges it has faced since its first enrolment in 2005 when the country was going through economic hardships.
The construction of the current phase includes the Faculty of Agriculture block, 12 staff units and studentsâ€™ accommodation.