By ZBC Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he is committed and determined to ensure the less -privileged in Zimbabwe and Zambia have equitable opportunities that improve their well-being including professional development.
For President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the journey to attain an education included having to study in a prison cell using toilet paper to write notes on.
While having begun his law degree by correspondence through the University of London, he was later to complete it at the University of Zambia after his release from prison.
Many years later, the University of Zambia still holds a special place in the President’s heart.
In 2019, the ED -UNZA scholarship fund was set up and currently 10 Zimbabwean students are enrolled at the University of Zambia while five Zambian students are studying at Chinhoyi University of Technology.
“At a personal level, I am committed and determined to ensure that under privileged members from our great mother land Zimbabwe as well as from Zambia, have equitable access opportunities that improve their overall well-being, including professional development. To this end I established an inclusive and coordinated ED -UNZA scholarship fund as my humble contribution to make a positive impact on the well-being of needy and talented learners. This initiative is founded on African values, rich cultural heritage and tradition of giving and sharing,” he said.
President Mnangagwa noted that despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the second republic continues to record significant strides in enhancing access to education.
“However reliance on parental contributions for fees and levies to support the pursuit of tertiary education creates a challenge for under privileged students, with regards to pursuing studies towards their preferred careers…….. My government will thus continue to deploy robust strategies to ensure an education system which leaves no one behind,” he added.
The scholarship liaison officer, Mrs Farai Mlotshwa says the programme has brought hope to the beneficiaries.
“Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen these students have already overcome many social, financial , emotional hardships . To them this scholarship means hope and a chance for not only improving their lives but those of their parents, or siblings around them .they are carrying the hope of their families and communities,” said Mlotshwa.
Mr Herbert Nkala, who chairs the scholarship trust, noted that gender balance will be ensured among the beneficiaries.
Calls to support the scholarship initiative received an overwhelming response from the public and private sectors with the fund raising dinner bringing in over 700 000 united states dollars and 16 million Zimbabwean dollars.
The President’s tie and scarf, which he wore for the night, were sold to the highest bidder with the funds all going towards the scholarship fund.
A mining company also pledged to sponsor five students who will study mining related programmes, bringing to 20 the beneficiaries of the scholarship programme.