Africa’s second Jesuit University was opened in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare last weekend.
Arrupe College Jesuit School of Philosophy and Humanities was officially inaugurated as Arrupe Jesuit University (AJU) after higher education authorities permitted the college to award degrees independently.
AJU’s inaugural vice chancellor, Fr Dr Kizito Kiyimba, said the higher education regulator, the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE) had given the university a one-year licence, after which it will apply for a full charter.
Chancellor of the university, and President of the Conference of Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar, Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, said the launch was an historic and joyful moment for Africa.
He said the university, besides imparting knowledge and understanding will concern itself with serving the needs of the poor.
“The painful and disturbing reality of widespread poverty is both a catalyst for and challenge to the development of higher education in Africa. AJU will devise creative and innovative ways to [approach] this challenge, including the education of a society that values fairness, equity and justice and undertake to create just and equitable socio-economic and political conditions for the marginalised and underprivileged to flourish in freedom and dignity,” Orobator explained.
AJU becomes the second Jesuit University in Africa after Loyola University in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the seventh private university in Zimbabwe.
The Jesuits have a wealth of experience in education at all levels in the country and Dr Kiyimba sees the university working closely with the Jesuit schools and tertiary institutions to create a learning platform not only for Catholics but the nation as a whole. He said the university enjoyed cordial relations with ZIMCHE, and the higher education community, who have pledged their support.
The university’s philosophy of education is to grow slowly and sustainably by placing emphasis on quality over quantity.
“There can be a drive for money and to expand widely and that goes against the philosophy of education for Jesuits. Ours is that the money might come but in second place.
“We want first to promote education, and to grow the economy by producing quality people who are knowledgeable, of service and responsible,” Dr Kiyimba said.
PICTURE: AJU vice chancellor, Fr. Dr Kizito Kiyimba (seated, second from left) and chancellor of the university, Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ (third from left) pose for a photo with the University first council ©Tonderayi Mukeredzi