By Clive Makumbe
Anglo-American Zimbabwe Companies Chairman’s fund in partnership with Unki Mines has handed over teaching and research equipment worth US$292.000 to the University of Zimbabwe School of Earth and Mineral Sciences as part of the US$5 million social investment fund.
This initiative was aimed at fostering quality educational infrastructure and equipping learning material to schools in rural and urban communities.
The learning materials donated included, 30 Primotech student microscopes, 2 Stemi 508 stereo microscopes and 1 Axio research microscope.
Board Chairman of Unki Mine, Mr James Maphosa said, while addressing guests who included government officials and the business community at the official handover ceremony on Friday, that the US$5 million towards tertiary sector is a social investment fund for youths since
they are the future.
“Over the past 10 years, Anglo American’s total social investment spent in the region of US$19.2 million and our investment over the period has spanned over various sectors of the economy. US$5 million
has been towards education alone and has amongst other initiatives been channeled towards the construction and equipping of schools in rural communities.”
“Our investment in education is an appreciation of the need for young people as the future custodians of our community to have access to quality learning supported by quality educational infrastructure,” he
Mr Maphosa said the hand-over of the equipment is part of their sterling efforts to produce highly skilled and qualified professionals in Zimbabwe’s mining sector.
“We handover the equipment today in full cognizance of the continuing challenges that the country faces in producing quality higher education and in acknowledgement of the vital role the department of Earth and mineral sciences has got to play at the University of Zimbabwe in order to produce highly skilled and qualified mining professionals,” he said.
General Manager for Unki Mines, Mr Walter Nemasasi said Anglo-American is eager to correct the consequences of economic regression suffered by the country’s mining sector.
“Learning equipment and staffing have suffered the consequences of economic regression since the year 2000. All stakeholders, namely the mining industry, government and the members of this university want this corrected.”
“We want to see the success of young people who give hours of research into minerals and related learning because those are the same people who will go on to make a success out of these historically failed projects,” he said.
He added that, Anglo-American is dedicated at restoring, mineral education at University of Zimbabwe.
“This donation will only be the beginning of an even bigger initiative to revamp the Mineral Education of this prestigious university. For the first time since their inception, an effort is being made to amalgamate the Department of Geology (inaugurated in 1957), the Institute of Mining Research (re-established in 1969) and the Department of Mining and Metallurgy (opened 1985) into the School of Earth and Mineral Sciences.”
“Anglo-America is pleased to be part of this and is committed in supporting the project annually,” he added.
However, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira at the same occasion said for Zimbabwe to achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class economy by 2030, more funds are needed to improve the tertiary education sector.
“There is no better way of advancing education than providing state-of-the-art tools with which to train our future leaders of the industry. With state of the art tools of trade, we can jump start our training that will translate into our becoming a middle-income country by 2030.”
“No nation can develop without investment in its education and research infrastructure,” said Prof Murwira.
Prof Murwira further expressed that, the private sector must support tertiary education since government shoulders a lot of responsibilities.
“Government alone cannot fund all these activities. It requires partnership with the private sector who will also be beneficiaries of any innovations that come out of our academic institutions,” he said.
Prof Murwira also applauded Unki Mines’ social responsibility endeavors’ of advancing knowledge generation.
Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Zimbabwe Prof Paul Mapfumo sincerely thanked Unki Mines for modernizing the microscopy laboratory in the Department of Geology, Institute of Mining Research and School of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
He added that, they will name their facilities after Unki Mines as a gesture of appreciation in the near future.