The Sunday Mail
THE transformation of Arrupe College into a fully fledged university is expected to open avenues for internationally acclaimed Jesuit professors to be attached to the Jesuits Institution.
Aruppe College is an affiliate of the University of Zimbabwe but has since applied to the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education for university status. The College will be the second Jesuit University in Africa after Loyola University in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Jesuits are a religious order within the Roman Catholic Church.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Society, last week, Aruppe College Principal, Father Kizito Kiyimba said their institution will be part of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) network of 300 Universities worldwide which boasts of professors who specialise in various academic disciplines. “This is not only our (Arrupe College) initiative as you might be aware that the Society of Jesus is one of the world’s largest and most influential Roman Catholic religious orders. Our world Jesuit leader Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal is aware of this development.
“When we become a university, we will automatically belong to a global network of Jesuit universities meaning we will be in a position to attract Jesuit professors from all over the world. “As Jesuits, we operate by obedience. If a Jesuit is instructed to go anywhere in the world he can’t resist. That is part of our oath and this is how we operate. “We are guaranteed that Jesuit professors will come here and they will not be teaching at Arrupe only but at any other Zimbabwean university,” said Fr Kiyimba.
He highlighted that Zimbabwe was among the few African countries that have many Jesuit administered schools at primary and secondary level. “The university will create a platform of continuing with the Jesuit education not only to Catholics but to every Zimbabwean. “It will operate like our Jesuit schools that include; Hartmann House, Marist Brothers, St Ignatius, Kutama, Dominican Convent and many others. “The schools have been producing world class students over the years hence the university will continue with the good work,” he said.
Fr Kiyimba expressed confidence in the quality of education that they provide as they await approval from Zimche. “We are more than ready to provide Zimbabweans with quality Jesuit education under a friendly environment. Everything is in place and we are ready to hit the ground running anytime. “We will not be giving out degrees easily (and) this is according to our philology. We will by all means encourage hard work and group work. “Our focus is not only on intellectuals, we will not only take the best and do the obvious but we will also consider the average and the weak and help them realise how good they are,” said Fr Kiyimba.
Dean of Studies at Arrupe College, Dr Evaristus Ekwueme said locals will benefit immensely from Arrupe University. “So far we have a well furnished state of the art language library and an online examination centre, the first in Zimbabwe. Before the centre, people used to go to South Africa for online examinations but now it’s nearby.
“Our main thrust as an institution is to bring the world to Zimbabwe and taking Zimbabwe to the world through our world class programs and infrastructure,” he said. Last month, at the institution’s 20th academic assembly, the College Rector, Fr Gibson Munyoro, announced that the institution will soon become an independent university as part of its growth strategy.
The event saw 59 students graduating, 20 with BA Honours in Philosophy, 12 Masters in Philosophy and 27 short courses on Ignatian Spirituality and Practice of prayer.