HARARE, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe says institutions of higher learning must be key players in driving development efforts by ensuring that educational content remains relevant to the needs of the economy.

President Mnangagwa, who is by statute the Chancellor of all State universities, told vice-chancellors and principals of tertiary

institutions at their inaugural meeting here Tuesday that the academic and education sector should take the lead in providing solutions to challenges the country was facing by coming up with ways to exploit a0vailable opportunities.

The education system is the pillar for the incubation of fundamental solutions to our nation, he said. Institutions of higher learning should not be satisfied with a very high literacy rate or about how many graduates have passed through their gates.

They should instead harness their collective skills and intellectual capacity within their respective institutions to develop

our beloved country.

He said the institutions should rally behind the country's new vision of economic transformation, modernization and industrialization through creative thinking and linkages with industry, commerce and other renowned international universities.

Education should be productive, it should be responsive and relevant to the needs of society for present and future generations, he said.

Collaboration with industry would also help address job-skills mismatches that have seen institutions of higher learning produce students who fail to meet industry requirements, he said. Our curriculum or course content should be continuously reviewed to meet industrial needs and expectations. We can no longer afford to train just for the sake of training.

President Mnangagwa said the government would strive to come up with laws to protect local inventions and discourage piracy. He also spoke strongly against corruption, nepotism, bribery and abuse of students at institutions of higher learning.

Deplorable corrupt and immoral tendencies that have seen undeserving students getting passes must stop. Our children, both male and female alike, should not be subjected to abuse in whatever form for marks or higher grades, he said.

Sex for marks or better grades result in what the students have termed sexually transmitted degrees.

Real man do not prowl university campuses and take advantage of our young girls' socio-economic background to abuse them in whatever form or style, President Mnangagwa said in speaking against men taking advantage of struggling students.

Cases abound in which female students are reportedly engaging in prostitution to supplement their income and maintain their upkeep at universities.

The institutions must uphold integrity of the educational system through honesty, transparency, accountability and maintaining high standards of professional ethics, said President Mnangagwa.