Bulawayo — PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday capped 1 458 students who graduated with degrees and diplomas at the National University of Science and Technology.
The graduates were drawn from the Faculties of Applied Sciences, The Built Environment, Commerce, Communication and Information Science and Industrial Technology.
The colourful 18th graduation ceremony began at about 11am when President Mugabe led the academic procession into the Ceremonial Hall where the graduands, their friends, parents and relatives were waiting.
Politicians, legislators and senior Government officials attended the graduation ceremony.
Of the 1 458 students who graduated, 887 were under-graduates, 449 post-graduates while 122 graduated with diplomas.
Females accounted for 33 percent of the total undergraduate category and 32 percent in the postgraduate group, which is far below the 50 percent target.
Among the graduates were The Herald senior assistant editor Tumeliso Makhurane who graduated with a Masters in Journalism and Media Studies, Sunday News editor Paul Mambo who attained a Masters in Business Management.
In his address, NUST Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Samson Sibanda said the university has since its inception in the early 1990s, made great strides towards improving the country's education standards.
He said had widened access to education by introducing the parallel and block release programmes
Prof Sibanda, however, called for concerted efforts towards increasing support for universities for the country to realise meaningful contribution from them.
"We need to create a sustaining environment that is conducive to effective learning, teaching and productivity.
"I want to say while positive efforts have been made by the Government to improve terms and conditions for service, salaries are still to low compared to regional averages, particularly in the professional grades.
"Infrastructure development is at variance with staff and student numbers. Information Communication Technology facilities are lagging behind even by third world standards.
"This is a priority area that needs urgent attention from our 'control room'," said Prof Sibanda.
NUST has a student population of 7 111 and staff complement 966 of which 375 are academics.
This year the university enrolled 1 753 students, 38 percent of which were female.