Nqobile Tshili, Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has challenged the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) to lead Bulawayo’s industrialisation process through creating new and supporting existing industries.
Bulawayo used to be the country’s industrial hub but has suffered de-industrialisation, resulting in massive job losses.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said Nust should fulfil its mandate of being the centre of the country’s science and technology innovations.
The Minister was speaking at Nust on the side-lines of the recent Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) symposium on development of minimum norms and standards for student accommodation in Zimbabwean universities.
“They (Nust) should actually spin new industries. Nust is there to support existing industries and their main job is to create new industries.
“What we are saying is that through our Education 5.0 we have the innovation hubs, where innovations are going to be incubated. Then after that when you have a prototype it has to be manufactured, it must be manufactured by a company that is spun off by Nust,” he said.
Prof Murwira said universities should lead in the industrial transformation of the country.
He said for new industries to be successful they should be anchored on natural resources that the country has instead of relying on imports.
Prof Murwira said his ministry was leading in the setting up of a heritage based economy.
“We are now addressing the fundamental questions. That can only happen through our institutions and Nust for example is a national university of science and technology and its mandate is to spin off low tech and high tech industries.
“That’s their charge. So, we are saying to spin industries and through Education 5.0 we are going to build those industrial shelves so that we are able to manufacture,” he said.
Turning to students’ accommodation issues, Prof Murwira said Government had taken several measures to reconfigure the higher and tertiary sector but had not addressed students’ problems.
“We have a qualification framework, we have talked about innovation hubs and now we want to focus on how to provide the students with accommodation. ZIMCHE has done a good job in making sure that they focus on this area so that we have minimum standards of accommodation,” said Prof Murwira.
“We have to see how we cater for students who are outside campus. We want to see how their accommodation is meeting minimum standards that do not disrupt study.”
The symposium saw South African university representatives also sharing their experiences on students’ accommodation challenges. Representatives from most local universities attended the two-day event.