THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) should have a deliberate policy biased towards enrolling students from Matebeleland region as it suffered underdevelopment during the early years of independence the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education has said.
Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education visited the institution yesterday.
Mr Daniel Molokele said Nust should have a deliberate policy biased towards enrolling students from Matebeleland region as it suffered underdevelopment during the early years of independence.
“This is a university of science and technology, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo provinces are the most marginalised in terms of secondary schools and high schools that focus on science subjects and mathematics. This university therefore has no option but to come up with a deliberate policy of recruiting more students from these three provinces,” said Mr Molokele.
He was however quick to point out that his committee’s candid talk with the university officials was not meant to discredit them but was a wakeup call as the university has an important role to play in national development.
Nust’s Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo said the university noted the concerns from the legislators but was already rolling out a master plan to address some of the challenges.
During the deliberations the university’s pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Nduduzo Phuthi said Nust as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem) mandated institution, had more expensive projects compared to other universities focusing on humanities and social sciences.
“We need a lot of equipment. Equipment is mainly sourced from outside the country and is therefore very expensive. We need foreign currency to buy this equipment so some of the resources that are supposed to be channelled towards infrastructure development are spent on equipment,” said Dr Phuthi.
He aid the other challenge facing the university was lack of space for infrastructure development.
“We have very limited space, we want more rooms, more teaching space, laboratories, studios, workshops and offices”, said Dr Phuthi. He said the university was also affected by Government’s job freeze, limiting recruitment of complementary staff.
Dr Phuthi said Nust will strive to improve its standards to attract even international students.
The university officials took the committee to some of the institution’s buildings and its innovation hub which is almost complete.