Government has urged the newly opened Reformed Church University in Masvingo to urgently start construction of its own campus to ease shortage of learning space and educational facilities. RCU is using temporary facilities at Morgenster Mission about 30 kilometres south east of Masvingo.
Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry permanent secretary Dr Washington Mbizvo at the weekend implored RCU to start construction of its own campus to speedily achieve its goal of becoming a world class centre of excellence in special needs education.
He said this at the installation of Reverend Dr Rangarirai Rutoro and Professor Wiseman Magwa as RCU's new chancellor and vice chancellor respectively.
Dr Mbizvo also challenged the new university to uphold Zimbabwe's reputation of having one of the highest literacy rates in Africa through improving literacy amongst those living with disabilities.
"The church (Reformed Church in Zimbabwe) should also be aware of the fact that the university is currently operating here at Morgenster Mission, using temporary premises and educational facilities.
"The Reformed Church University should strive not only to consolidate the high literacy rate the country is enjoying but also to improve the literacy rate of people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe," said Dr Mbizvo.
The RCU is the first institution of higher learning to offer a degree programme in special needs education.
RCZ said they had embarked on mobilisation of funds for the construction with a target of US$7 million.
Dr Mbizvo warned the RCU to ensure that the institution does not collapse as was the case when the Reformed Church intially attempted to open its first university eight years ago.
He said it took much effort to convince President Mugabe to allow the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe a second chance to establish a university.
The RCZ was initially given a charter by Government to establish a university in 2003 but the university, then named Great Zimbabwe University, collapsed.
"I implore all the people concerned with the running of the university to be mindful of past mistakes that led to the collapse of the first attempt of opening a university, the then Great Zimbabwe University.
RCU Vice Chancellor Professor Magwa expressed gratitude to Morgenster Teachers' College and Murray Theological College for agreeing to share their premises and learning facilities temporarily with his new university pending the construction of the RCU's own campus.
Professor Magwa said RCU had 70 block release students and would enrol 200 conventional programmes students in February next year.