Varsities and Colleges Urged To Embrace Innovation
Local universities and colleges have been urged to take a leading role in driving innovations and technology while providing education and skills relevant to the development of local industries.
Addressing vice Chancellors, lecturers, academics and captains of industry in Harare on Tuesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said industrialization and economic growth in Zimbabwe will only bloom if there is a great demand for tertiary institutions to be creative and come up with innovations that benefit the manufacturing sector.
“Institutions of higher learning should also recognize the agricultural sector and agro-based value chain it into the industries as an integral part of our economy. Equally, they have a leading role in shaping the economy through science and technology being the test beds for innovation and educating future generations,” said Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa added that an imperative question has to be asked regarding how higher institutions fit into the industrialization and international trade policies.
“I therefore exhort local universities to establish academic synergies with industry, commerce and other renowned international universities or centers of academic excellence to boost their capacity in research and technology development through academic cooperation,” Mnangagwa noted.
Mnangagwa said there was need to reward those who excelled in creativity and innovation, and called for the protection of their intellectual property.
“In this regard, I exhort the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to ensure that copyrights, patents and all other rights of inventors, innovators, scientists and technologists are fully protected. More concerted efforts must be made to fight against piracy; this vice dampens the spirit of innovation and creativeness,” he said.
He added that there is need for well equipped laboratories and establishment of vibrant Research and Technology Development Centers which would facilitate the institutions to lead in research to produce a qualitative and technological edge which in turn supports the agricultural sector, which he earmarked as the backbone of the economy.
Mnangagwa’s sentiments were echoed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Dr Desire Sibanda who said Zimbabwe should start thinking about astrology adding that in the near future, Zimbabwe should start sending people to space.