The Chancellor of Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency (HE) Cde ED Mnangagwa capped one thousand nine hundred and twenty (1920) graduands at the university’s 18th Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony which was characterised by pomp and fanfare took place on 12th October 2019 at the Faculty of Science Education Complex in Bindura.
The graduands were drawn from the university’s five existing faculties namely Agriculture, Commerce, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science and Engineering and Science Education. In summation, this year’s graduation figure was made up of 513 Diplomates, 1115 first degree graduands, 45 postgraduate diplomates and 247 Master degree graduands. Two Master degree classes namely Master in Microbiology and Plant Pathology and Master of Science in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture released their first graduands at this ceremony.
The Vice Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje gave an overview of the year 2018 to 2019 to the guests at the ceremony. In his speech, Professor Mwenje highlighted that the university took significant strides in the development of the National Sports Academy which was launched in 2018. He highlighted that the university partnered the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to work on the academy’s earth works and the construction of an access road which links the Mt Darwin Road Campus and the Faculty of Science Education Complex.
He also highlighted that the athletes from the National Sports Academy were excelling in different sporting activities and had successfully participated in a number of regional and international competitions held in Botswana, Morocco and Italy, among other countries. Professor Mwenje however lamented an unfortunate incident which befell one of the facilities used by the athletes, the university’s state-of-the-art gymnasium. He said the facility was completely gutted down by fire in June 2019. He added that the university was appealing for assistance to put up the much needed facility and equipment back on track for the benefit of the athletes and the sports science programme.
Professor Mwenje also took the audience to the progress the university had made regarding the Virtual and Open and Distance Learning Programme. He highlighted that the university had revised and upgraded this programme into an Off Campus Learning Model. He said the Off Campus Learning Model Programme which was set to be launched early next year allowed students to undertake their programmes while they are away from campus using internet and other communication technologies.
On research and innovation, Professor Mwenje emphasised that the university was responding positively to calls made by the Government encouraging institutions of higher learning to provide goods and services which impact positively on people’s lives. In line with this thrust, the university established a strong natural products research group which is ready to release products into the market. Speaking of one of these innovations, Professor Mwenje said the University had completed the proto-type testing of a sustainable broiler chicken feed based on Moringa Olifera leaves. The piloting phase of this project saw the production of 50 tonnes of feed and the establishment of distribution networks throughout the nation.
“It was shown that the project was commercially viable and is now ready for scaling up, which involves setting up of a feed manufacturing plant and, diversification to include the production of pellets for road runners and rabbits,” said Professor Mwenje. He explained that the project was expected to contribute close to 1 million USD to the GDP by 2023.
Professor Mwenje applauded the Government through the Honourable Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Honourable Senator Monica Mavhunga for a donation of land for the establishment an Industrial Park. In his speech, he highlighted that the Province had identified a 21,875 hectares plot for the establishment of an Industrial Park at Kingstone Farm. Transfer of the land to the university was in the pipeline.
The Vice Chancellor Professor Mwenje also mentioned the prestigious awards that the university received during the course of the year. These awards were meant to recognise a number of achievements in research, innovation, leadership, corporate governance, corporate citizenship and sports.
He went on to applaud the Government for awarding University staff salary increments and cushioning allowances in 2019. He said besides cushioning staff against price increases, salary increments had assisted in reducing brain drain especially in sciences and technology area.
In his message to the graduands, Professor Mwenje said the Government introduced Innovation Hubs meant to incubate and cultivate bankable ideas from students and the alumni. He said the university looked forward to assist them develop new enterprises.
The Graduation Ceremony was attended by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development (MoHTESTD), Hon Professor dr A. Murwira; Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Hon Air Marshal P. Shiri; Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Hon Cde K. Kazembe; Mashonaland Central Province Resident Minister, Hon Senator M. Mavhunga; Permanent Secretary in the MoHTESTD, Professor F. Tagwira; service chiefs; officials from MoHTESTD, representatives from embassies, Vice Chancellors, officials from ZIMCHE and the local business community.