PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday “lectured” the Midlands State University (MSU) Vice-Chancellor Professor Victor Muzvidziwa on how he formed the MSU 30 years ago when there was only the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
The President said other front runners in the small team that pushed for the establishment of the Gweru-based university were national heroes Richard Hove and Cephas Msipa, who were members of the committee which Mnangagwa chaired.
Educationist, Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe who was to become the first Vice Chancellor of MSU in 1999, sat in the committee as an academic consultant.
President Mnangagwa made the revelations yesterday at the unveiling of MSU Industrial Park and the Cephas G. Msipa Teaching and Learning Centre in Gweru.
“I was explaining to the Vice Chancellor (Professor Victor Muzvidziwa) the history of the establishment of MSU, some 30 years ago when there was only the University of Zimbabwe and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
“After NUST, the late former President Cde Robert Mugabe who was then Prime Minister then said we needed a State university in every province.
“So, with that in mind and because I come from the Midlands province, we had to find out what was needed because we knew what UZ was providing and we also knew what Nust was providing. So, we needed MSU with a particular focus.
“So, we formed a committee which I chaired which had Cephas Msipa and Richard Hove, our patron was former Vice President Simon Muzenda and the academic consultant was Prof Ngwabi Bhebhe and I am happy that they have honoured one of the four planners, the gesture is most appreciated,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said his Government is committed to supporting universities growth, and urged the MSU to take inspiration from both living and departed heroes like Msipa.
He said it was pleasing to note that the works of some of the heroes had resulted in the birth of innovation hubs and industrial parks that were now creating value for society.
“It was only in 2018 and my first ceremony here at MSU that I asked for the introduction of innovation hubs which will feed into industrial parks and I agreed with the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development to select six universities as pilot projects.
“All the State Universities now have innovation hubs and are creating industrial parks,” said President Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe currently has 16 State-owned universities spread across the country.
He said he was happy and surprised at the same time that at Chinhoyi University of Technology and Bindura University of Science Education, the girl child is overtaking the boy child even in sciences.
“I’m very happy not that I don’t like the boy child but it is critically important that we have our girls breaking the barriers,” said President Mnangagwa. ■