Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
President Mnangagwa yesterday capped a record 6 977 graduates at the 19th Midlands State University (MSU) graduation ceremony in Gweru.
Of the 6 977, 3 348 were female and 3 629 male.
A total of 989 graduated with Masters degrees and three were awarded Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
In his address, MSU Vice Chancellor Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said the event is by far the largest graduation gathering in the history of MSU.
“Among those graduating today are 100 international students drawn from Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, South Sudan and Mozambique. This is evidence that we have gradually spread our wings in our internationalisation effort,” he said. Prof Muzvidziwa said resource constraints remain a challenge but the university continues to explore avenues of increasing income from entrepreneurial activities, especially in agriculture, research and innovation.
He said one of the MSU’s key strategic objectives is to be “a technologically-driven research intensive university and to generate problem-solving innovations for commercialisation and industrialisation”.
The MSU VC said its researchers are committed to cutting-edge research.
“In this vein, our researchers have secured competitive domestic and international research grants. We have a total of 15 active international grant funded research projects. Some of these include, Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR), Global Challenges Research Fund UK, United Nations Development Programme,
Transparency, Responsiveness, Accountability and Citizen Engagement (TRACE), Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA),” he said.
“The awarding of research grants by international agencies to our academics is evidence of their intellectual energy and courage, which we continue to celebrate. In particular, Your Excellency and Chancellor, Dr Gift Mehlana’s work on a grant- funded project has led to his subsequent selection by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the International Younger Chemists’ Network to represent Californium on the Periodic Table of Young Chemists. This is a strong endorsement of the international impact of our research in applied science. Dr Gift Mehlana’s name will be etched on the periodic table of young chemists for the next 100 years. I would have wanted to present Dr Mehlana to you Your Excellency today. He is, however, in Europe to receive an award.”
Prof Muzvidziwa said MSU is always seeking to excel in quality research, innovation and technology transfer.
He said the university has 18 intellectual property disclosures.
It has also registered one patent, filed four utility models with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and three copyrights with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Organisation (ZIPO).
These innovations, he said, are ready for incubation in line with the national thrust of prioritising innovation to ensure industrialisation.
“In the same spirit of innovation, our Department of Food Science and Nutrition has developed a culture of problem solving through a concept they call ‘Foonovation’, meaning food innovation. This involves processing and canning of indigenous foods that previously no one would have imagined possible,” said Prof Muzvidziwa. “Your Excellency and Chancellor, community engagement, collaborations and partnerships are key pillars in our strategic plan. In pursuit of this strategic goal, the Faculty of Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering partnered the World Bank for a lecture on innovative technologies in small-scale mining and mineral processing as well as small-scale mining as a business. This partnership is part of ongoing efforts by the World Bank to support engineering professionals, academics and students with knowledge transfer partnerships,” he said.