13 November 2017

Zimbabwe: President Commends HIT

Photo: Jonathan Moyo/Twitter
President Robert Mugabe signs the visitors' book after capping students at the Harare Institute of Technology (file photo).

The Harare Institute of Technology recently received an applause from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chancellor of the college Cde RG Mugabe on its technological thrust, which has seen the university generating tangible products, vital for the country's development. Speaking at the 9th leg of the Presidential Youth Interface Rally held at the White City Stadium in Bulawayo, on Saturday November, 4, 2017, President Mugabe said the Harare Institute of Technology was trailblazing amongst the community of universities in Zimbabwe in the practical application of knowledge, through the development of relevant inventions in agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry and in engineering.

" . . . so our universities must be alert. We need them to go to institutions where there is now practical application of engineering disciplines and not the theoretical aspects that we have pursued in the past. The first graduation we had was at HIT the Harare Institute of Technology. Unoona kuti ikoko vakomana varikuita zvatinoda zvemugwara. Varikutarisa kuti ku-agriculture ndezvipi zvinodiwa, mishonga inodiwa ndeipi tiongorere. Kuma industry ndeapi mainstruments anodiwa, and you have young people working to construct the implements we need in our industry. Ndiyo engineering yatinoda kwete yekunyora maB muchipasa," said President Mugabe.

Since its establishment in 2005, HIT has been making inroads towards its goals of conducting research, which is responsive to national needs; challenges and aspirations. The institution was granted university status in 2005, through the promulgation of the Harare Institute of Technology Act {Chapter 25:26}. The University was mandated to develop, incubate, transfer and commercialise technology for Zimbabwe's rapid industrialisation. The University is grateful for the visionary and astute leadership of His Excellency and Chancellor, President Mugabe, which led to the establishment of HIT; and for his vision for higher education, and the empowerment of our youth.

Speaking at the university's 8th Graduation Ceremony; HIT Vice Chancellor, Eng QC Kanhukamwe said research from across the university's schools resonates with, and responds well to the nation's development blueprint, Zim-Asset.

"Our main focus areas in research, development and innovation are the promotion of our indigenous knowledge systems, value addition of natural resources, herbal medicines research, development of software application packages, energy generation models, renewable energy and agricultural engineering and technology. Our research output has also been characterised by the generation of intellectual property," he said.

"HIT's research efforts have also been guided by the need to maintain relevance and context as we strive to provide solutions to national challenges through intellectual enterprise. Our research has also been largely hinged on the need to apply the new knowledge sciences such as nanotechnology, biotechnology into research," said Vice Chancellor Kanhukamwe.

Recently, research efforts in the University's Technology Centre have been focused on producing agricultural machinery and farm implements that contribute to import substitution and value addition in the agricultural sector. The Technology Centre is a strategic unit of the University that was set up to promote (the development of) manufacturing activities from various academic units within the University, as well as attending to production orders from industry and commerce.

Its other mandate is to give competence development training in technical and management courses to industry and commerce, as well as the Small to Medium Enterprises Sector (SMEs).

Some of the machinery and implements produced include: a tractor-drawn hay baler, a huge maize sheller, a stock feed pelletizer and a twig thrasher.

Hay Baler

For the baling of hay which facilitates easy storage and movement of hay from one region to another during dry periods. A functional prototype has been developed, that is capable of baling at least a 1000 bales of 15 kg bales per day. This is drawn by a minimum of 45-horse power tractor. Supporting machinery to the hay baler; notably the hay cutter and hay thrasher is now at design stage.

As HIT, our uniqueness also lies in the hands-on, practical learning that we afford our students. The university translates this hands-on practical learning through the Capstone Design projects, a unique aspect of the HIT curriculum which provides students with room to prove their proficiency in translating scientific concepts into tangible outputs. The Capstone Design projects are informed by the philosophical precepts of innovation, technopreneurship and creativity, and hold the potential for commercialisation.

The University also inculcates in its students the ethos of technopreneurship and develops values responsible for a mindset shift from the traditional expectation of employment. Under the technopreneurship ethos, graduates are capacitated to start high-tech enterprises, make an impact on the national economy and have their presence felt on the global market.

Article produced by the Communications and International Relations Unit, with extracts from the Sunday Mail of 5 November 2017

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