PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday promised to address a myriad of challenges bedevelling the higher education sector by luring private investors to assist.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Addressing a higher and tertiary education infrastructure conference, which attracted financial institutions from the region, local banks, construction companies and heads of universities, polytechnics and teacher training institutions, Mnangagwa said his administration was pushing for infrastructure development in tertiary education
“I, therefore, appeal to both local and international partners to look into this sector for various project offers. Those interested could partner. You can do so through build, operate and transfer, build, operate, own and transfer and the public private partnership modules,” he said.
The institutions told Mnangagwa that they were struggling to offer accommodation to their students, resulting in some residing in dilapidated houses and exposing them to various vagaries.
Mnangagwa said universities were growing faster than the economy, in the process putting pressure of Treasury.
He said universities should offer off-site amenities such as shopping malls, banks and hospitals.
“We need to prioritise infrastructure investment at colleges and universities for future generations to produce well-rounded graduates for the global market,” the President said.
Mnangagwa said infrastructure development has been the missing link in the education sector.
“The initiative to invest in universities has received tremendous response from investors, both domestic and foreign,” Mnangagwa said.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira said students required modern accommodation.
He said the conference seeks to construct the future “we desire to produce graduates who can in turn produce goods and services”.
Representatives of universities and colleges also got an opportunity to table their infrastructure requirements including modern libraries, lecture rooms, early childhood development blocks, clinics, state of-the-art sporting facilities and students and staff accommodation.
The student representatives asked for allowances for university students on internship, an increase in money paid to teachers while on training practise and a meeting with the President.