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President Mugabe yesterday conferred degrees to 3 667 University of Zimbabwe graduates from nine faculties and the College of Health Sciences.
The faculties are Agriculture, Arts, Commerce, Education, Engineering, Law, Science, Social Studies and Veterinary Science.
Of the graduates, 3 106 were conferred with first degrees, 535 with Masters Degrees and 25 with Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Among those graduating with bachelors’ degrees, 149 had first-class passes.
For the first time in the history of the university, an 18-year-old student was also conferred with her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
The graduate, Maud Chifamba, joined the university at the age of 14 years and completed her degree at the age of 18 years.
This year’s graduation ceremony also saw the pioneering graduates of the Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
In his address, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura, described this year’s ceremony as historic saying all these achievements were a first in the 61-year history of the university.
He said the university will continue to engage with various stakeholders and strategic partners for continuous improvement and to remain relevant.
“We do recognise that our society is getting more complex with dynamic varying sets of requirements,” said Prof Nyagura.
He said this presented a challenge that called for a re-think of the nature of the public service the university should provide.
Prof Nyagura said to that end, the university’s focus should be more on socialisation of knowledge by making sure that the university produced highly-qualified professionals and that the best research results were transferred to society.
He said the UZ was also open to capture the knowledge generated by society so as to sustain and further develop the intellectual and cultural base of the country.
“In this endeavour, we have committed ourselves to participate in national projects that empower our country to be competitive regionally, continentally and internationally,” said Prof Nyagura.
He said in addition, the university also reviewed its curriculum to promote innovation, application of science and technology and entrepreneurship.
“Our focus is to produce graduates with a strong foundation in science and technology and with problem solving and analytical skills,” he said.
Some of the training incorporated include Forensic Science, Geospatial Intelligence and Aeronautical Engineering.
Prof Nyagura said the university had also excelled in the development of GIS (Geographic Information System) and Earth Observation Sciences.
“The motivation for this development is the realisation that geographic sciences are key to human security including disaster and emergency response, crime and terrorism prevention, surveillance of diseases and disease vector outbreaks,” he said.
He said the university’s GIS and Earth Observation Centre had since been assigned by the African Union to carry out two major tasks.
Prof Nyagura said in line with Zim Asset, the university also embarked on a number of projects aimed at increasing infrastructure to meet the growing demand of education.
These projects include a building complex with 10 state of the art lecture rooms with a combined sitting capacity of 1 000, a pharmacy laboratory that accommodates 130 students and an engineering computer laboratory fully equipped with 100 state of the art computers.
Among notable figures that graduated yesterday are: Director General in the Office of the President Retired Major General Happyton Bonyongwe, Minister in Vice President Phelekhezela Mphoko’s Office Tabeth Kanengoni Malinga, Mbada Diamonds corporate executive George Manyaya, lawyer Godwills Masimirembwa and Highfield legislator Psychology Mazivisa.
They graduated with Masters Degrees in International Relations. Paidamoyo Chipunza, source-chronicle