Auxilia Katongomara in Havana, Cuba
Government has stepped up the industrialisation and modernisation of the country’s tertiary institutions through brokering more bilateral agreements with Cuba, that will see experts in medicine and ICT imparting their expertise to local universities. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has engaged two more ministries here to support the industrialisation drive.
Prof Moyo, who is leading a Zimbabwe delegation mainly made up of vice chancellors from the country’s universities, had talks with Cuba’s Minister of Science, Technology and Environment Elba Rosa Perez Montoya and senior officials in the Ministry of Public Health.
The talks will see more bilateral agreements signed between the two countries.
Prof Moyo said Government was in urgent need of experts to spearhead the industrialisation process.
Prof Moyo met the director of the teaching department at the Ministry of Public Health, Professor Jorge Perez, who was standing in for the health minister.
“We have good relations with Zimbabwe,” said Prof Perez.
“We have been sending doctors to your country and we have no problem sending our professors in medicine to train your people.
“You must only justify the areas of interest and we sign the Memorandum of Understanding.”
Prof Moyo said vice chancellors whose universities had medical schools should import medical experts in the fields of oncology and neurology, among others which were not readily available in Zimbabwe.
He said there were 13 medical universities in Cuba and they were born from their late leader Cde Fidel Castro’s policy to “take universities to the people and not the people to the universities.”
Cuba has 51 other universities in all provinces and a medical university in each province.
“Despite the challenges we have faced, Cuba has a unique health system which is an obligation from the government. It is a priority from the state,” said Prof Perez.
He said teaching takes place in 82 clinics and 54 hospitals.
“Our students first learn practicals before they go to theory and the professors that teach medicine are practicing medical professionals,” he said.
“This strengthens the system because you learn better by doing.”
Prof Perez said Cuba had moved from the concept of treating in a hospital to a concept of preserving health.
The delegation later met Cde Montoya and had talks which will see professors and experts in information technology coming to Zimbabwean universities to impart knowledge.
The Zimbabwe delegation expressed interest in areas of water purification, renewable energy, environment and innovation.
Cde Montoya said her country had invested a lot in science and technology and institutional programmes research.