The University of Zimbabwe was established in 1955 through a Royal Charter as the University College of London. It is the oldest institution of higher education in the country.
It is a State university and is therefore largely funded by Government, particularly for capital development. With the unfavourable economic climate that has prevailed for almost two decades, the institution is increasingly relying on its own revenue, largely from the fees paid by students as well as donations from well-wishers and strategic partners. It is a comprehensive academic institution with nine Faculties and one college. Its student enrolment which stood at 2,280 at the attainment of the country’s Independence in 1980, has grown to 17,800 and is projected to further increase to 22,00 by 2020. Its current enrolment is comprised of 15,200 undergraduate and 2,600 postgraduate students. Among its academic staff are 108 professors and 245 with PhD qualifications. Its female enrolment increased from 22.3% in 1980 to the current 62%.
Main Priorities and Focus
According to the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the University has prioritized Post-Graduate Training, Innovative Research, Industrial Attachment, and Entrepreneurship, Talent Management, and ICT Innovation and Integration as its top five thrusts, in that order. It states its intention to, “… nurture and produce ethical Graduates with exceptional academic, citizenship and entrepreneurial skills ….” in line with its Vision. The University strives to be ranked among the top 10 universities in Africa by 2020 (it is currently outside the top 30, according to the Times Education Supplement 2017).
Ways of organizing and managing the HEI
The University operates through a committee structure in which decision making is decentralised from Central Administration to Departmental level. While the Council is responsible for the institutional overall policies and major approvals regarding administrative and strategic issues, the University Senate is responsible for all academic matters. All new programmes and review of existing ones as well as research, teaching and learning as well as community engagement fall under the responsibility of Senate. The Vice-Chancellor chairs Senate and may sometimes delegate the function to the Pro Vice-Chancellor but remains accountable. Faculties are represented by their Respective Deans, Chairpersons and Professors. Senate receives recommendations from the Academic Committee which is responsible for the initial deliberations of submissions and issues from Faculties which in turn oversee the operations of their Departments. Departmental committees report to the Departmental Board which in turn reports to the Faculty committees and Board.
Relevant recent changes and developments in policy and/or practice:
The University has put a new thrust in becoming increasingly self-reliant instead of continuing to expect Government funding which has been dwindling due to the persistent macro and micro economic challenges for almost two decades. As it states in the current Strategic Plan, “We are expected to do more with less”. It is no longer ‘business as usual’. Also, in line with recent Government policy thrust espoused through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, the University Research is now required to be heavily skewed towards applied research with tangible outputs that contribute to national development. Academic activities are expected to be linked to national and community needs and challenges.
Main contactCharles Muchemwa Nherera
University of Zimbabwe
630 Churchill Avenue