The Jesuit Arrupe College in Harare, established in the 1990s as the regional centre for the early stages of training Jesuit priests, has been upgraded to a full university through a charter granted by President Mnangagwa.
In Proclamation 3 of 2020, gazetted last Friday, the President exercised his powers under the Higher Education Act, and after recommendations from Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to declare Arrupe Jesuit University to be established and granted it a charter.
This will allow Arrupe Jesuit University to expand the range of courses it offers and to admit other students besides its core group of Jesuit novices.
The charter lays down that it is open to men and women and must provide an integral education for the benefit of Zimbabwe and Africa, but it will follow Jesuit norms. Jesuits run universities across the world, all with high reputations of intellectual and academic excellence.
The Society of Jesus, established by Ignatius of Loyola and a group of followers in 1541, has a tradition of stressing both the strong spiritual formation of its novices and members and insisting on intellectual excellence.
The new private university will be a non-profit institution, but with the Society of Jesus guaranteeing its financial viability.
At the top will be a board of trustees, comprising the Jesuit major superiors in Africa and Madagascar, that is the elected heads of each province, under the chairman of the president of the Jesuit major superiors on the continent, who will also be the chancellor.
The superior of the Jesuits’ Zimbabwe province will be the chairman of the council. The rest of the charter creates a fairly standard university in terms of administration and division into faculties and departments.
The charter does not lay down where the university must have its campus or campuses.
Presently, it is housed on a fairly large campus in Mount Pleasant, a few blocks from the University of Zimbabwe, but further significant growth might require a second campus.