17 September 2020- Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe handed over laptops to the five Africa University/ Stanbic Bank scholarship recipients who have begun their studies at the university. The scholars have been drawn from across Zimbabwe in a concerted effort to ensure representation from each province in the country and deliver on the impact of increased access to educational opportunities for brilliant students throughout the nation. Selected for the prestigious award after a rigorous and highly competitive application process, the scholars hail from Marondera, Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare and Masvingo.
Five brand new laptops sourced by Stanbic Bank and awarded to each student shall enable the full participation of the young scholars in online learning and will also serve as tools through which they can engage the digital world. The AU/Stanbic Bank scholarship recipients who have begun their first semester are engaged in four-year degree programmes with the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance and the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources in disciplines ranging from Accounting, Medical Laboratory Sciences and Business Studies.
The handover ceremony allowed the scholars to meet one on one with the University Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa and their benefactors from Stanbic Bank. Prof. Furusa impressed upon the young ladies the need to be cognizant of the blessing that they have received from the partners and Africa University, encouraging them to work hard and make the most of the opportunity presented to them. In his remarks, he went on to acknowledge the strong female representation in the group and spoke of the important role that women and youth have to play in the advance of the development agenda on the continent. Prof Furusa also went on to recognize the amazing work of Stanbic Bank in transforming lives through their strategic investment in people through education, thanking them for sharing and believing in Africa University’s vision and mission.
He said, “We do not take lightly the faith that you have placed in us. As custodians of the future, we can assure you that your investment has not been in vain. An investment made in education and in people is truly one of the most powerful that can ever be made. It is through this that we are assured of the creation of a future that is sustainable, led by capable, compassionate and socially aware visionaries who know that the building of the Africa we all dream of is not cast out of a foundation of mere intentions, but out of will, action, purpose and unwavering faith.”
Africa University has made deliberate strides in the advance of technology in learning and as a tool for enhancing student success. The Vice Chancellor spoke to the impact that the laptops shall have in the educational journey of the Stanbic Scholars saying, “The handover of these laptops is timeous and coincides with our institutional aspiration towards creating a truly digital campus that offers the very best in advanced educational technologies and delivers to our students an education that is global in its context and allows them to compete with the best anywhere in the world. We have been strategic in our embrace of online learning. After being the first university in Zimbabwe to be accredited to offer online programmes in 2018, we had no idea that what was once a niche dimension of the learning process would almost overnight become the dominant mode of teaching and learning. Constantly innovating and moving forward, we remain the pace setter and gauge of the winds of change and opportunity sweeping across the educational landscape. We shall continue to lead, to support and to guide the education agenda in Africa.”
The relationship between Africa University and Stanbic Bank is nearly two decades in the making with the two partners strategically aligned as they seek to leverage education and its transformative potential to uplift and change lives. The Stanbic Bank team led by Stanbic Mutare Branch Manager Mr. Lincoln Mhlanga echoed the sentiments of the Vice Chancellor on the need to embrace digital technologies especially during the COVID- 19 Pandemic.
Mr Mhlanga went on to expand on the importance that the bank places on education and increasing its access in Zimbabwe and Africa to break cycles of poverty in communities and uplift the youth. He said, “As we walk with Africa University in our shared passion of educating young minds, we are pleased to continue and strengthen our partnership. It is extra special to us that our scholars have come from across Zimbabwe and we celebrate you and your achievement. Stanbic Bank, through our corporate social responsibility efforts supports a number of students through our bursaries who have gone on to successfully graduate and create employment for others in various sectors. This has formed a part of our legacy and our greatest reward is knowing we have changed so many lives. We are truly grateful to Africa University for giving us the opportunity to expand this programme. We are so excited at the journey ahead. We hope to give more students similar opportunities in the future. We are assured that Africa University shall provide our scholars with quality and exceptional education. I know the history of Africa University and you have a famous phrase, The Dream is Alive! It indeed is alive today for our scholars.”
Natasha Masenyama from the Harare Metropolitan Province who is studying Accounting and spoke on behalf of the Stanbic Scholars thanked both Stanbic and Africa University for the opportunity and vowed to surpass the expectations of the partners and the institution. She said, “I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the generous support that you have given us in lifting the tuition burden from our families and giving us the wings to soar. This scholarship has opened doors for us and made the prospect of a brighter future so much more attainable. Your investment and good faith have made it possible for us to pursue our studies with such a prestigious university. We hope to achieve academic excellence as well as make a difference in people’s lives, the same way you made a difference in ours.”