ZIMCHE Hosts NUST Seminar

The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) hosted a two day seminar from 6-7 June at the NUST Delta lecture theatre. The workshop focused on the Development of minimum norms and standards for student accommodation in Zimbabwean universities.

The Guest of Honour was Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Hon. Minister Prof. Amon Murwira. Hon. Prof. Murwira emphasized the importance of cultivating an inspiring physical environment for students in Zimbabwe’s Higher and Tertiary Education Institutions as it impacts on the output of their research and studies. According to Hon. Murwira student spaces must not consist of a mere bed and study table but should be clean and liveable spaces that will groom responsible future leaders.

“The way we nurture our students is the way we nurture our future” said Hon Prof Murwira.

He added that the Ministry aspires to create the nature of education which provides all required resources for students education which will lead in turn lead to innovation and industrialization in Zimbabwe.

According to the Hon. Prof. Murwira, the vision to improve and create better student housing needs optimistic individuals who have a positive attitude in seeing the vision being achieved. He observed that Education 5.0 is not a linear process but a liberating model which needs consistency for it to develop the nation.

He added that the life of a city must revolve around the local university therefore the investment in university student housing can be viewed as an investment to the entire city.  He said NUST should be the dominion of industries in Bulawayo just as much as Lupane and Gwanda State universities should lead to the growth of these very small populated towns.

The keynote speaker of the workshop, Miss Busi Radebe Dean of students, from the Vaal University of Technology in South Africa explored the South African experiences in developing and implementing the minimum norms and standards for student accommodation. She added that all South African Universities adopted this accreditation policy used to manage off campus student housing. Factors that are taken into consideration include sites of residence, design standard, student health and safety, student housing governance and management as well as compliance with on campus student housing. Outside accommodation is required to have fire extinguishers and house committees which will help create a peaceful environment.

She advised Zimbabwean universities to create various activities such as health boot camps, sporting activities, HIV/AIDS empowering groups etc, to keep students busy and experiencing depression.

ZIMCHE CEO, Prof. Kuzvinetsa Dzvimbo stated the need for Zimbabwean universities to adopt the South African standards of accommodation by liaising with the outside campus house owners and agreeing on a policy.  According to Prof. Dzvimbo, the workshop should be seen as a golden opportunity to improve student accommodation.

According to Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eng. Mqhele Dlodlo, the symposium will help develop liveable safe spaces where students can be free to explore learning and enhance their career and character development.

The two day symposium included group discussions with individuals from different universities discussing their different experiences and a united way forward to create norms and standards for student accommodation.

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