ANOTHER group has graduated from Lupane State University (LSU), the first tertiary institution in Matabeleland North province, but the actual operations of the varsity remain centred tens of kilometres away in Bulawayo.
LSU was mooted over nine years ago as part of the government’s initiative to have State universities in every province.
Besides, the need to have a university that caters for fields that are not being studied at other institutions in the country, Matabeleland North was in a unique position in that it did not have a tertiary institution.
Last Friday President Robert Mugabe capped 484 graduands, of which 139 of them were diploma holders and the remaining 315 were conferred with various degrees.
The graduands were drawn from the faculties of arts, agricultural science and social science, among others. A lot of work has been done to lay the groundwork for the first group of students to have their lessons from the LSU campus in Lupane.
At the graduation ceremony, acting LSU vice-chancellor Getrude Nyakutse announced that the relocation would be done in phases “as accommodation becomes available”. She said the university had bought housing stands in Jotsholo for its academic and non-academic staff.
Jotsholo is a few kilometres from Lupane centre and staff can easily afford to commute from work as it is along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway. LSU’s progress has been hampered by funding constraints and the university is forced to rely on rented premises in Bulawayo, about 170km from its site.
To facilitate the relocation, the university has to guarantee student accommodation, staff accommodation, health facilities and sports fields. The government should also find ways of expediting the completion of these projects because the mere presence of the university in Lupane would change the economic fortunes of the province.
There are a number of ways the government can chip in to help LSU speed up the provision of accommodation and other amenities needed by the university.
LSU would draw thousands of people to the provincial capital and boost economic fortunes of people living around the centre hence it should be in the government’s interest to see the relocation happening sooner rather than later.