NEWLY-INAUGURATED Africa University (AU) vice-chancellor Peter Mageto has lauded government for allowing the establishment of private universities in the country saying it ensured that most Zimbabweans realise their higher education dreams.
Mageto was installed AU’s fiffth vice-chancellor at an event attended by hundreds of delegates in Mutare last week.
The Kenyan national becomes the first person from outside Zimbabwe to occupy the post.
In his maiden speech, Mageto said: “We thank the government of Zimbabwe for permitting the university to operate because the dream could not have been achieved if the government did not allow the university to get a place for construction. What I know about the 30 years of AU existence is about our lord Jesus Christ who began his ministry at 30. The 30th anniversary, therefore, means the beginning of a new ministry at the university.”
Mageto promised to bring glory to the AU, which boasts over 10 000 alumni and over US$1,3 million in scholarships annually.
He said the university was rated among the best in Zimbabwe and Africa.
“We continue to ride between the top three universities in Zimbabwe and among the top 100 universities in Africa," Mageto said.
He promised to establish a college of engineering as part of efforts to complement innovation in higher education.
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Speaking at the same occasion, academic Michael Ugwueke, who was the guest of honour, said Africa was still lagging behind with under 6% students accessing higher education.
“For example, there are 740 universities in Africa enrolling 660 million students. About 6% of children in Africa south of the Sahara will enrol for higher education, and that must change because compared to America, a good number enrols at the universities. We envision that in 30 years AU will lead in virtual learning and engage in partnership with other universities,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira praised Mageto saying he was a man of unquestionable character and ability.
“The government fully stands with the AU, which is a best example of private higher education in Africa. This institution has changed many lives and most graduates from the university are occupying leadership positions across the globe,” he said.
Alumni president and academic Faith Nyamukapa said: “We are confident that Mageto is a capable leader who will take the university to greater heights. We encourage you and will continue to encourage the leadership to conserve the spirit of progress at this renowned institution.”
The first AU vice-chancellor John Kurewa was inaugurated in 1994 with 28 students receiving their first degrees from the university.
He was succeeded by Rukudzo Murapa, Fanuel Tagwira and the now late Munashe Furusa.
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