Zvamaida Murwira in CHINHOYI
TERTIARY institutions and students should no longer pride themselves in having paper qualifications, but the ability to produce something tangible, which demonstrates the knowledge acquired during one’s time at college, President Mnangagwa has said.
The education system, the President said, should adequately empower a graduate to be self-sustaining and contribute to national development, consistent with the Government’s thrust of modernisation and industrialisation to ensure the attainment of an upper middle income society by 2030.
President Mnangagwa made the remarks while addressing Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) students and Zanu-PF supporters at the institution’s farm where he was launching an Industrial Cattle Fattening Pens and Medicinal Feed Factory, which is part of several initiatives and innovations by the institution.
“We must have a high performance and results culture within the higher and tertiary education ecosystem,” he said.
“Paper qualification can be futile if you cannot produce something tangible. We must celebrate producing something tangible.
“We must no longer celebrate because you now have a paper qualification, but that you have been moulded in a practical way that enables you to produce goods and services.”
President Mnangagwa said as graduates come out of institutions of higher learning, they should be able to produce something to contribute to development, hence the adoption of Education 5.0.
He had the crowd in stitches when he said the late national hero and former Cabinet Minister, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, used to say they had stopped slaughtering beasts if a family member graduated, lest they would empty their cattle pen given the high number of relatives graduating.
President Mnangagwa said with the multi-pronged strategy and projects introduced by the Government, the time for food insecurity had gone.
“These projects are timely, coming as my Government is scaling up the implementati
on of the livestock growth strategy and the broader multi-pronged agriculture and food system transformation strategy.
“Firstly, Zimbabwe is an agricultural country. We cannot continuously be referred to as a food insecure country. Yes, there is climate change but we have to work for ourselves and the first thing we must do as a country is to be food secure.
“For that to happen we need to determine the quantity we consume annually as a country and plan to produce accordingly including surplus.
“We have noted that we need a minimum of 340 000 hectares under irrigation. Over the years we have never produced enough wheat, we have just been producing wheat lasting for just two months and import the balance from Ukraine where there is war,” said the President.
Zimbabwe is now producing enough wheat to meet national requirements.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe used to import fertiliser from Russia, but it has been established that the raw materials to produce fertiliser are available locally.
He commended CUT for making a positive contribution to the growth of the education system and the economy in general.
“I therefore commend CUT for demonstrating that you are responsive and trailblazing in your areas of specialisation.
“This specifically relates to advancing production and productivity, food security and nutrition. Well done Chinhoyi University. With this spirit, I urge other universities and colleges to continue cultivating vital knowledge, requisite competencies needed for modernisation and industrialisation and sustained social economic growth of our beloved country Zimbabwe. We must develop it ourselves,” said President Mnangagwa.
He reminded those who want to help in Zimbabwe’s development trajectory to do so on the country’s terms.
“So with such broadened prospect of education, I challenge stakeholders at every level of the education system in our country to increase collaboration towards mapping out value chain whilst also nurturing skills needed to support development growth of every sector in our economy”.
President Mnangagwa commended CUT for transforming the university farm, which used to be a forest, into a productive, usable land boasting of cattle and value addition products.
He also saluted the close collaboration between CUT and Takoradi Technical University from Ghana.
President Mnangagwa also noted that districts from Mashonaland West province will take turns to visit CUT for training in cattle rearing and other related programmes saying that dovetails with Government’s Presidential Poultry and Livestock programme.
The President said they had since started distributing the livestock in different provinces.
As the country heads for the 2023 harmonised elections, the President called for peace and advised people not to accommodate those of a violent disposition.
Higher and Tertiary, Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said the Second Republic had adopted a new approach to education where it has been taken as a ritual.
“We have declared that the time has come that we do not take education as a ritual. It is a means of emancipation.
“To this end, we have reconfigured our education for one to be an employer and not an employee. Development is a game of self-belief.”
Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, commended CUT saying its activities will help boost the province’s contribution to national Gross Domestic Product.
Several ordinary people and stakeholders spoken to commended the Government for spearheading development in the province and the country.
“We have heard that the cattle fattening project will benefit other farmers as well, both in terms of the service and training.
“So we expect to get training from the plant which is a positive development,” said Mrs Gertrude Masvinyange, a local farmer.
Another farmer, Mr Privilege Chigovera, said they look forward to drawing lessons from the value addition being done by the university.
A student in agriculture engineering said she was excited by the programme since she will come out with practical knowledge on value addition and agricultural practices like cattle fattening and artificial insemination.
Article Source: The Chronicle