Chancellor of All State Universities, His Excellency President Robert Mugabe on Friday, 28 October, capped 2 078 graduands at Great Zimbabwe University’s 10th graduation ceremony held at the Main Campus Sports Arena.
Those who were awarded degrees at the colourful ceremony were drawn from the faculties of Arts and Humanities, Culture and Heritage Studies, Commerce, Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Education and Social Sciences. Of the 2078 graduands, 1 450 who successfully completed undergraduate studies while 622 graduated with masters’ degrees from various disciplines.
Among the special features of this year’s congregation, was that six programmes were graduating for the first time ; two undergraduate and four postgraduate namely;
• Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Business Management,
• Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology,
• Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management,
• Master of Science degree in Demography and Population Studies,
• Master of Science degree in Counselling Psychology and
• Master of Science degree in Gender and Policy Studies.
The total number of graduands this year represented an 82 percent increase from the 1 916 who were capped by President Mugabe at the institution last year. Among those who graduated, 21 were awarded first class degrees across the various faculties.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Great Zimbabwe University Council, Mr Simplicius Chihambakwe commended the unwavering support that spouses, sponsors, parents and guardians of the graduating class had extended in funding the educational needs of the graduands.
“Without such dedication, love and support the journey through university would have been an impossible task,” he said.
Mr Chihambakwe said Great Zimbabwe University continues to set the pace for institutions of higher learning, not just in Zimbabwe but also across the region.
“The accolades that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Zvobgo as persistently received for himself and the University are ample evidence of this. Earlier this year, Your Vice Chancellor Prof. Zvobgo was inducted into the African Leadership Magazine Hall of Fame for Pioneering Excellence and Innovation in Tertiary Education in Africa. On the same occasion, the University was awarded the African Leadership Medal of Honour. He received yet another prestigious honour, the Diamond Eye Award for Quality and Excellence, which was awarded to the University by Other ways Management and Consulting in Rome, Italy. Right here, in his home town, Professor Zvobgo was bestowed Civic Honours by Masvingo City Council for Outstanding Contribution to Masvingo while the University was also honoured for contributing to the development of Masvingo,” said Mr Chihambakwe.
He said such recognition was a clear reflection of the University’s commitment to its values of Unhu/Ubuntu, Excellence, Integrity, Results focus as well as Quality.
In his address, Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Jonas Zvobgo highlighted some of the developments that were achieved at the University since the last graduation ceremony, a year ago.
said the University’s student population has continued to grow and the enrolment now stands at 15 000.
He said that the University’s students flew the University and National flag high, far and wide in 2016.
“Our Moot Law Team from the Herbert Chitepo Law School has brought marvel upon marvel. In March this year the team was invited to the Annual International Mediation Tournament held at the Chicago Law School of Loyola University in the United States of America where they came a credible fourth (4th) out of fifty one (51) teams from across the globe.
“A little later, in July, the same team came fourth (4th) out of the twenty five (25) competing world Law Schools at the prestigious Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Competition which was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The Hebert Chitepo Law School Mooting Team scooped 1st prize on Friday the 16th of September at the 1st Preliminary Round of the ICRC Mooting competitions that were held at the Midlands State University. More recently, the team also came first runner up at the 25th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition 2016, held at the High Court in Harare this October. Our Students compete for team places for each competition and nearly every competition has had new team players”, he said.
He added: Our student on work related learning, Prisca R. Chivange, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Museum Studies, outwitted twenty four (24) other competitors and was selected to be the sole representative for Southern Africa at the World Heritage Youth Forum 2016 that took place in Turkey from 29 June – 12 July, under the conference theme – “At the Crossroads of multi – layered heritage”. That Your Excellency and Chancellor was no mean feat. This only goes to show the quality of tuition and student that we have here at Great Zimbabwe University, the University of Choice”.
In the area of niche related research, the Vice Chancellor said the University was contributing to agriculture, from an intellectual and practical stand point.
“We have entered into a partnership with sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi, through the Zimbabwe Sugar Development Association, for sugarcane capacity building. The project is a promising prospect. We have already had our pilot certified training for the farmers and they are raring to learn, increase yields and green the low veld. This partnership is expected to result in research publications that inform our own needs as a nation”, he said.
Professor Zvobgo said the University’s research profile has improved significantly adding that the University has managed to attract considerable research funds through grants and scholarships.
“In addition to feverish research activities in the University, Your Excellency and Chancellor, We have made frantic efforts at community engagement. Just last month we successfully hosted, together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the 9th edition of the Dzimbahwe Arts and Cultural Festival which, second to graduation day, is a flagship activity on our University Calendar. During this same festival we were privileged to hold a training workshop for Chiefs and Traditional leadership,” he said.
Professor Zvobgo said that plans are underway to set up research units for the study of traditional herbs and medicines as the University strives to “stemitise” indigenous knowledge systems, in line with its niche in Arts, Culture and Heritage preservation.
In the area of Information Communication Technologies, the Vice Chancellor said the University ever more tenaciously to give its students a world class university life experience.
“Among the major developments in this critical area we increased our internet bandwidth from 250Mbps (Mega-bits per second) at the start of the year to the current 800Mbps. As you know, with growing trends in ICT’s and the ways in which ICT’s have impacted traditional libraries as we know them, we have channelled vast resources towards e-resources subscription. In this light, the Library managed to increase annual subscriptions to electronic collections. Having said this, Your Excellency and Chancellor, our ICT compliance does not suggest that we have done away with printed resources. NO. The hard copy book is still pretty much around and is not leaving anytime soon. I know a number of people of my generation are more comfortable and convinced by hard copy books,” said Professor Zvobgo.