By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
520 students graduated from the Catholic University of Zimbabwe on Friday, 13 April 2018. The graduates were capped by the university Chancellor, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu in the presence of all Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops, representatives of the Ministry of Education and friends of the Catholic University. This was the 15th graduation ceremony for the Catholic University since it opened its doors in 1999. The graduating students received degrees in humanities, business management, information technology and theology while seven got diplomas in theology. It was all jubilation as graduands celebrated the attainment of different academic achievements.
The Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, Professor Ranga Zinyemba esteemed the students for completing their studies and encouraged them to contribute to the transformation of the country’s economy. He said while there were limited job opportunities in the country as a result of the closure of many companies, he was optimistic that students from the Catholic University would turn Zimbabwe’s situation around by creating jobs for themselves and for others.
“I see hope. I see promise. I see return to investment. I see a better Zimbabwe and a better world. I see all this despite the fact that we are sending these young men and women into a world replete with uncertainty, and even hostility. With unemployment estimated at over 90% in our country, who would doubt that the environment out there is hostile to young women and men entering the job market armed with their degrees and certificates?,” said Professor Zimyemba.
Professor Zinyemba challenged graduands to be like hot iron that can be shaped into any product. He told them not to despair when they fail to get meaningful employment but urged them to be innovative and come up with better strategies of survival not forgetting the ethical standards they learnt and gained from the Catholic University.
He added: “For those of our graduands entering the job market for the first time, what are you going to see when you look at the world of work – closed factory gates, unresponsive Human Resources Managers, and business sections of newspapers devoid of job advertisements? What will you see when you look at all this negativity? Remember Albert Einstein who said ‘I am thankful to all who said No to me its because of them I did it myself,’” he said.
The Catholic University is growing in leaps and bounds with a student population of 4000 in 2018 from 2 700 in 2017. According to Professor Zinyemba, the university dreams of having 10 000 students by the year 2022.
Professor Zinyemba said: “ We dreamt, among other things, that we shall have ten thousand students by the year 2022 and we had at the time 280 students. Our student population had risen from 280 in 2013 to 2 700 in 2017 over a period of four years representing an increase of 864%. I am pleased to announce that our student population has risen from last year’s 2 700 to 4 000 representing an increase of 1 300% over the first half of our ten year strategic plan period 2013-2022.”
The Catholic University of Zimbabwe has also increased its campuses from one to five including Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Chinhoyi and the recently opened Gokwe campus. Professor Zinyemba said it is his wish to have a campus of the University in each of the eight Catholic Dioceses so as to avail the flavor of Catholic education and ethos in every community.
“I am pleased to announce that we now have five campuses of the Catholic University, each in a different diocese of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. Our newest campus is at Gokwe Town Center, which opened its doors two weeks ago on 31 March with 70 students. By August this year, we hope to have Masvingo Diocese on board,” Professor Zinyemba said.
The Chairman of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe Council Mr. Chris Mbanga commended the Catholic University for opening University Campuses in five dioceses so far and congratulated Professor Zinyemba and his team for taking the University to greater heights. He called on the University to continue with the steady pace of growth and to remain focused in delivering what is relevant and appropriate in the dynamic environment.
Mr. Mbanga said: “We have been watching with a lot of interest the changes in the global economic and business trends where new businesses and technologies are emerging. We encourage your staff to focus on research and learning to build understanding in order to have a fair view of trends and to make a meaningful contribution to research and new knowledge. We know that the trend in many business areas is to disrupt the norm. We know that the Catholic University of Zimbabwe is cognizant of the trends and we encourage you to continue in your work so that you also find ways to disrupt considering that if you do not disrupt you will be disrupted.”