Auxilia Katongomara in DAEJEON, South Korea
ZIMBABWE’S universities should transform into industrial hubs rather than specialise in being graduate producing and certificate awarding institutions, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has said.
Prof Moyo who is leading a delegation comprising of Vice Chancellors and legal experts on a three-week business tour to industry incubating universities in Asia and South America, said universities should be at the forefront of the industrialisation drive.
Briefing the delegation soon after arrival here yesterday, Prof Moyo said the tour was for the Vice Chancellors to learn how other institutions were incubating industries.
“We need radical transformation from our institutions of higher learning. They must move from being certificate giving universities, but to industry creating hubs because universities must be drivers of the economy. It’s time to rethink our universities and change their role,” Prof Moyo said.
Universities, he said, play key roles in economic development particularly in promoting industry.
Minister Moyo cited the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Medicine which has been recognised as one of the best medical schools, but was still only producing medical practitioners than transforming into an industry-incubating medical institution.
“We want the university to have a medical industry that benefits Zimbabwe and many other sectors such as energy and engineering. So the purpose of this trip is for you to see how our universities can be used as incubating centres,” he said.
Prof Moyo challenged the Vice Chancellors to take notes from the tour to assist in formulating the ministry’s Act which is under draft.
He said Cabinet last week approved principles of the new Act which is proposing an all-encompassing Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Bill for institutions of higher learning.
“The principles of the new Act approved by Cabinet last week will repeal all Acts of Universities and the Manpower Development Act. It will also affect private universities.
“We will come up with a new law by end of July and we have also come up with a strategy document for the next 10 years,” Prof Moyo said.
The delegation was welcomed by Chungnam University vice president of International Affairs Lee Jun Heon at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport.
Yesterday, Minister Moyo and his delegation were scheduled to meet Chungnam University president and tour the institution’s Research Centre and Software Engineering as well as other industries incubated by the university.
The delegation was scheduled to leave for Singapore for a tour of the National University of Singapore.