Zimbabwe: Innovation, Research Bill Before Parly

18 November 2020

The Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill, which seeks to create a technology hub to harness and coordinate research and innovation in universities and colleges to drive Zimbabwe's modernisation and industrialisation in public and private sectors was tabled before the National Assembly yesterday.

It was tabled by Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, who stressed that the proposed law sought to provide for the establishment and function of the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development that could lead to the growth of industry and job creation.

It will provide an administrative framework for the promotion of innovation and industrialisation.

The objective of the Bill is to coordinate and house programme-based synergies among universities, teachers' colleges, polytechnics, industrial training colleges, vocational training centres and innovation institutions in tackling national challenges for the modernisation and industrialisation of the country.

The Bill will apply to public and private industry and all institutions of higher and tertiary education in Zimbabwe.

Clause Six of the Bill spells out the functions of the centre, which includes support for the development and demonstration of technology-based products, processes and services and creating technology jobs across the economy for graduates from all institutions of higher and tertiary learning in Zimbabwe.

Other functions include providing engineering and technological solutions to industry and communities, generating income, promoting and encouraging partnerships in engineering, technology and innovation among institutions of higher and tertiary education, industry and community, and to create an enabling environment that supports innovation and technology business enterprises and connects the Zimbabwe economy with the global innovation industry.

It also seeks to increase productivity through science, technology, engineering and mathematics innovation across all of Zimbabwe's productive and social sectors, and to establish satellite institutes distributed in all provinces of Zimbabwe focusing on priority programmes for strategic sectors that have impact on the economy and society, including, but not limited to health and environment.

The Bill seeks to ensure that through innovation and research, tertiary institutions tackle national challenges for the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe, and improve the country's economic status through production and export of intellectual property.

Clause Eight provides for the procedures of appointing the chief scientist, who acts as the CEO of the centre.

The Bill creates the Centre for Education, Innovation Research and Development Council that will be made up of not less than nine, but not more than 15 members.

The President will appoint the members upon recommendations from the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.

It shall consist of the chief scientist and chief director, who will both be ex-officio members, a registered chartered accountant, a legal practitioner, one person with tech-entrepreneurial background and not more than six eminent scientists.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, referred the Bill to the Parliamentary Legal Committee in terms of procedures to scrutinise whether its provisions were consistent with the Constitution.

On its return, legislators in both Chambers will be able to debate and improve the proposed law if there is anything that calls for their attention.

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