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HIT-Transilvania ties strengthened

HIT-Transilvania ties strengthenedFollowing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Harare Institute of Technology and the Transilvania University of Brasov of Romania on 7 June 2017, the latter invited HIT on a reciprocal visit, whose main objective was to identify the next steps to further develop cooperation between the two universities.

The signing of the Memorandum, and the subsequent visit to Romania by the HIT team was promoted and facilitated by His Excellency, Dr Silviu Barbu, Minister Plenipotentiary of Romania to Zimbabwe.

The HIT delegation comprised of Dr G. Mandishona: HIT Board Chairman, Eng. Q.C Kanhukamwe: HIT Vice Chancellor, Eng. Mr P Muredzi: HIT Dean, School of Industrial Sciences and Technology, Mr T Mutema: HIT Director - Communications and International Relations, and Ms A. M. Adriano: Deputy Director, Higher Education Programmes, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, visited Brasov from 9-14 October 2017.

The visits' agenda included discussions with relevant staff from Transilvania University of Brasov, visits to faculties, the Research and Development Institute as well as the teaching and practical work infrastructure. Departments visited included Mathematics, Informatics, Food and Tourism, Wood Processing, Product Design and Environment Faculty, Renewable Energy laboratory and the Mechanical Engineering faculty, among others.

Discussions with Transilvania University were centred on collaborative research, the initiation of a staff development programme through doctoral studies for HIT staff in the areas of Technological Engineering and Industrial Management, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Applications, Food and Tourism and Mechanical Engineering. The potentiality of collaborative doctoral studies in the fields of electronics and computers. Patent development and the facilitation of access to Romanian companies were also deliberated. The HIT delegation also took the opportunity to learn and observe Transilvania University partnerships with industry and how such relationships were nurtured, and their manifestation into University programmes and activities.

Key observations from the visit to Transilvania University of Brasov are that the University is consolidating itself as a key national and international institution for generation, transfer and advancement of knowledge. The University is also integrating itself into the European higher education and research arena. The HIT team observed that all its faculties have well developed and modern laboratories and workshops for their students, covering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, - endowed with high‐tech equipment, updated IT infrastructure and specific softwares for the various academic disciplines. Transilvania University has direct cooperation with various companies that are co-investing in well-equipped high-end teaching laboratories, thus resulting in the deployment of facilities that ensure specialized training and development of highly qualified human capital.

The Transilvania University Research agenda is driven by its Institute of Research, - housed in an ultra-modern centre with 30 defined research priorities which are interdisciplinary in nature.

During interactions with the University, the HIT team noted the deep connectedness of the Romanian culture, identity and heritage into everyday life and in the conduct of business; and the effortless articulation of this heritage by their hosts.

Opportunities for cooperation were also recognised in technology transfer and commercialisation in the areas of production of mechanised agricultural equipment for small holder famers, renewable energy, material sciences and technology, aerospace engineering, electronics and computer applications, railway and road construction technologies.

The HIT delegation was greatly inspired by the visit and is forging ahead with the implementation of the agreement between the two universities; with the backing of the Romanian Embassy in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and the Institute Board.

Transilvania University of Braşov, is a public institution of higher education, established over 50 years ago, with the mission to provide and develop resources and instruments for high quality teaching and scientific research. 

Romania played a significant role during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle by offering training to freedom fighters in the technical fields. It continued to offer the same technical assistance up until 1989 when a new regime took over from the Communist Party. It is against this background that the new Administration in Bucharest is desirous of reviving the once vibrant ties.