Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
GOVERNMENT has availed $60 million for the procurement of industrial machinery at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (JMN) Polytechnic’s Home Economics Complex which will be turned into an innovation hub.
The construction of the Home Economics complex, which is now in its final stages of completion, has brought excitement among students as it is going to be a game changer in the industrialisation of the country.
The innovation hub is also expected to benefit graduates who intend to start their own businesses in line with the Education 5.0 model, which is a five-mission model of teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation.
It speaks to the utilisation of local resources for social and economic development. The new model, which was adopted five years ago, seeks to produce graduates who solve national problems instead of just being job seekers.
The Home Economics complex will also address the shortage of learning space at JMN Nkomo Polytechnic.
Once complete, it will house a clothing factory and accommodate students pursuing practical courses such as tourism and hospitality, professional cookery, textile and clothing design.
It is envisaged to become a major Food Science and Technology Centre and an incubation ground for new companies.
The country adopted Education 5.0 whose goal is to industrialise and modernise the country.
JMN Polytechnic principal Dr Ngoni Moyo said students will form consortiums where they will come together as groups and use the practical skills that they would have acquired from the institution to start income-generating projects.
She said the Government has allocated $60 million towards buying state-of-the-art equipment for the innovation hub.
“As a college, we now see the Home Economics complex as an innovation and industrial hub. This is an important structure which will help us as an institution to implement the Education 5.0 model,” she said.
Dr Ngoni said upon its completion, there will be a lot of industrial activities at the college.
Ms Marvelous Shumbayimwe, a student in the Division of Technical Education majoring in textile clothing, technology and design, said the Home Economics Complex will benefit both JMN Polytechnic students and graduates.
“I see this innovation hub having a huge impact in the lives of many. It will benefit both students and graduates. Students will have an opportunity to undergo high skilled training using state-of-the-art equipment and it will also create employment for graduates,” she said.
Ms Shumbayimwe said students have been using makeshift workshops that have limited space.
Mr Walson Ndlovu, a student in the Division of Teacher Education majoring in secondary science, said the Education 5.0 model gives young people opportunities to venture into businesses.
“This is the kind of development that the country needs,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Mr Takudzwa Ncube a student majoring in Mathematics said the state-of-the-art equipment which will be installed at the innovation hub will help the institution churns out students that are relevant for the industry.
Construction of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic Home Economics block stalled since 2003. The Government has increased funding towards infrastructure development at universities hence work has resumed at the Home Economics block.
At the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) a students’ accommodation complex has been completed while the
Gwanda State University mining laboratory block is almost complete.
In the 2023 National Budget, the Treasury allocated $9,8 billion towards infrastructure development at universities.