By Brenna Matendere

THE Midlands State University (MSU) has successfully translated the country’s Constitution into sign language in a development that is going to impact positively on schools for people with speech and hearing impairments.

This is the first time that the country’s supreme law has been made available in sign language.

Speaking at the university’s 20th graduation ceremony, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa capped 3 149 graduands on Friday, MSU vice-chancellor Victor Muzvidziwa said the translated Constitution has been packaged in DVDs.

“Your Excellency and chancellor, you may also recall that in my speech at the 2018 graduation ceremony, I announced the establishment of the MSU language institute. The institute has made milestones. Cognisant that sign language is one of Zimbabwe’s 16 languages recognised in the Constitution, the language institute has since produced sign language DVDs of the Zimbabwe Constitution,” he said.

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Muzvidziwa also highlighted that the department which produced the sign language Constitution has made other major achievements.

“… it (Midlands State University language institute) has forged international partnerships with Sonke Gender Justice, a South African-based NGO (non-governmental organisations) for which they have translated advocacy documents. The institute has also started the first phase of training all Premier Service Medical Industries Fund staff in sign language competence,” he said.

Muzvidziwa also revealed that the MSU has re-branded.

“The 2018 national critical skills audit showed that we had a critical skills deficit in engineering and technology, natural and applied sciences, agriculture, medical and health sciences,” Muzvidziwa said .

“We are immensely proud of the university’s response to the skills audit through curriculum renewal. The university has since re-branded and expanded the mandate of its mining and mineral processing engineering faculty to become the faculty of engineering and geo sciences now, now offering a wide range of disciplines in engineering, including energy and fuel sciences.”

“We take pride that the MSU has made digital fluency, innovation and entrepreneurship priorities. Our disciplines in the humanities and social sciences have also embraced digital technologies, especially with the social media and the new trends in communication as well augmented reality in the performing arts.”

The MSU moved 25 places up on the Webometrics university ranking systems from position 175 to 150, Muzvidziwa revealed.