Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is today expected to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a transformative National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) Technovation Centre, a facility where students, academics and industry will come up with various solutions to drive economic growth.
The President is also expected to cap 3 087 students, 42 of them international students from the Sadc region and South Sudan during the institution’s 28th graduation ceremony.
The ceremony will start with the laying of the foundation stone for the Technovation Centre before the President caps the graduates.
The Second Republic, in a bid to develop the country through innovation, has constructed innovation hubs at universities and the Technovation Centre will operate within the framework of research and implementation incubation centres.
Nust director of communication and marketing Mr Thabani Mpofu said students, academics and industry should bring ideas at the Technovation Centre
“Before the graduation ceremony, His Excellency, the Chancellor, will lay a foundation stone at the Technovation Centre. Once completed, the Technovation Centre is expected to drive technological development in various sectors of the economy. It will be a tech centre for all technological innovations that our students, our academics working together with industry and business will have to come up with innovations to solve various problems in various sectors of our economy,” said Mr Mpofu.
He said unlike the innovation hub which handles innovation that may not even be technologically driven, the Technovation Centre will drive technology driven innovations.
“This Technovation Centre is more of our Second Phase of the innovation hub. In the innovation hub we are talking about addition, we are talking about any innovation of whatever type. Whether the innovation is not technologically driven, that innovation can be housed at one innovation hub phase one,” said Mr Mpofu.
“So the Technovation Centre is now our innovation hub phase two, but specifically focusing on technological developments. That is what this Technovation Centre is all about.”
He said it is in sync with the university’s technology entrepreneurship curricula as Nust is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics driven university.
Mr Mpofu said the infrastructure at the university should support the stem programme which should lead to job creation.
“We are trying to make sure that we have the relevant infrastructure to support this entrepreneurial curriculum that we are promoting. This Technovation Centre will also be held in terms of transforming our students into job creators. We want our students when they graduate to leave with certain technological innovations developments inspired or driven by heritage based Education 5.0,” said Mr Mpofu.
Construction works at the Nust had stalled for years but the Second Republic has made a commitment to develop the university.
Government this year allocated $1 billion towards the construction of a Students Services Centre and giant library.
Significant progress has been made in the construction of a Students Service Centre and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development resolved to do away with contracting external contractors in construction of universities and polytechnics.
Nust, which is now in charge of construction projects at the university, has roped in students from Bulawayo Polytechnic for the construction of balustrades which has reduced costs.
Nust is supposed to have 27 buildings but only seven have been completed and some of them have reached a dilapidated state.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the new model has reduced the construction costs by 75 percent.
He said Nust graduates should be job creators who should establish business empires.
Turning to the graduation, Mr Mpofu said seven graduates will graduate with PHDs.
“We are holding our 28th graduation at the Ceremonial Hall tomorrow where His Excellence and Chancellor of Nust, the President, Dr Mnangagwa is expected to cap 3 087 graduates. Among these graduates, seven are doctorate graduands and 42 are foreign students from Botswana, Zambia, South Sudan, Eswatini and Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Mr Mpofu.
He said the two best graduating female and male students are expected to receive the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award.