The Deputy Minister of High and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Honourable, Dr. Godfrey Gandawa said that University Institutions due to the government inability to fund the entire STEM and Research programs the universities should commercialise. The Deputy Minister said this during the question and answer session on a business luncheon hosted by Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Wednesday.
Gandawa said that the Universities could also partner with industries which have infrastructure to support the STEM initiative.
“These universities should also partner with industries and utilise infrastructure… There is infrastructure that is lying idle that the universities can utilise from industries.” Gandawa said.
Earlier the University of Zimbabwe chairman for Research, Professor Paul Mapfumo had listed infrastructure as one of the problems affecting the country stating that the country had no infrastructure for development.
During the event, the ZIMDEF Chief Executive Officer Frederick Mandizvidza also encouraged partnerships between the universities and the industries.
Mandizvidza said that many industries in developing countries were not consulting with Universities in Researches to solve the problems that companies face.
“In developed countries it is the industry that goes to the universities to say we have got a problem, please may you help us solve it but in developing countries it is the doctor that goes to the patient and says you have got a problem may I solve that problem”, said Mandizvidza.
Many industries have shut down in the past years due to economic hardships facing the country.
Currently the STEM initiative is funding more than 10,00o Science students comprising of 5,064 upper sixth students and 5,790 lower sixth. In light of the noted challenges the initiative, which was launched last year in January was said to have had a budgetary increase of $7.78 million this year from $7.4 million last year.
“ZIMDEF is funding for plus or minus 5,000 but at any time it will be plus or minus 10,000″ said Gandawa.
The STEM Initiative is a 10 year program running from 2016 to 2026 according to Mandizvidza the CEO of ZIMDEF.