Zimbabwe has always been one of those countries which I had a curious fascination with and a deep interest in visiting. Formerly known as Southern Rhodesia, it was granted its independence from Britain in1980 and since then has been working to develop its economy and to take its place in the modern world.
The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) located in Harare (formerly known as Salisbury) first opened its doors as a public university in 1952 as the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and was initially affiliated to the University of London. It was later renamed the University of Rhodesia towards the end of the colonial period and assumed its current name as the University of Zimbabwe when the country gained its independence in 1980. It is the oldest and highest-ranked university in Zimbabwe and remained the only University in the country until the 1990’s.
Under its 2019-2025 Strategic Plan, the university has re-established eleven faculties and one college. The University has specialist research centres, specialised postgraduate degrees and associate/affiliate colleges and institutes offering a wide range of programmes that include 175 accredited undergraduate degree programmes. The university is accredited through the National Council for Higher Education, under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and mainly uses English as the language of instruction.
My visit was funded under the ERASMUS + Higher Education Staff Mobility for Training programme of the European Commission through a grrant held by the University of Glasgow, and I was guest of the Faculty of Education's Academic Staff and Post Graduate Students, in the Department of Educational Administration and Leadership, the Department of Art Design and Technology’s Academic Research Centre and the Community and Social Development Department in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The Department of Educational Administration and Leadership offers a range of programmes in educational management from degree to doctoral level.
The visit offered me an opportunity to meet staff, engage in discussions and assist with teaching and research in the field of education, lifelong learning and community engagement. The visit also provided an opportunity for staff at the University to link in with the PASCAL Learning Cities Network through a joint network meeting online. The University of Zimbabwe is keen to establish international connections and as the University is located in Harare, a city of almost 2 million people, there is an excellent opportunity to link in with the city’s services and departments .
The visit also offered me an opportunity to explore Environmental and Climate Change issues in Zimbabwe, and to make a field visit to Victoria Falls. A return visit to Glasgow will be made by a small group of staff of the University of Zimbabwe in June 2022 and they will attend the Higher Education Reform (HER) conference which is being hosted by the University of Glasgow.
I received a very warm welcome by all the staff and students, and this helped make my trip a really memorable occasion. Hopefully I can return again one day.
Rob Mark, University of Glasgow