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First Lady Grace Mugabe has graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Doctorate in Philosophy.

The former typist was capped by her husband, the chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe along with 3 274 other graduands. The ceremony was beamed live on ZTV.

The title of Grace's thesis was: "The Changing Social Structure of the Family: The Case of Children's Homes in Zimbabwe".  

Grace's graduation came as a shocker after she grabbed headlines in 2009 when the media claimed that she had allegedly failed dismally. The first lady reportedly dropped out of a university in London where she was studying for a Bachelor of Arts (English) degree after dismally failing most of her examinations, local and international media reported in 2009.

Reports claimed that the First Lady, whose personal tutor was President Mugabe, had passed only two subjects since she enrolled at the University of London eight years before dropping out, the Zimdaily.com website reported.

She was studying through correspondence. Her lack of progress prompted the university officials to deregister her from the programme, the report said.

"According to officials at the university Mrs Mugabe could go down in the university's history as the worst student ever to enrol there," the website added.

Meanwhile, Grace whose husband is the chancellor of all universities and colleges in Zimbabwe was said to have registered for a doctorate degree at the University of Zimbabwe in June this year. Sources privy to the development told The Zimbabwean that Grace had successfully applied for a Doctor of Philosophy degree and had already completed her proposal, which a university higher degrees committee was reviewing, according to investigations conducted by the Zimbabwean in June this year.

"She will be doing her doctoral research in the sociology department; she has chosen to research on child rights," said a reliable source then.

The only publicly known qualification that Grace possesses is a first degree in Chinese language that she completed in 2011 after four years of distance learning with the People's University of China.

It was not immediately clear if Grace had completed a post-graduate qualification but, according to the source, she could still qualify to undertake doctoral studies provided she had an appropriate first degree and sufficient academic research history.

Vice President Joice Mujuru also graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree and the title of her thesis was: "A Strategic Explanatory Entrepreneurship Study of Sustainable Agricultural Business: Case Studies of Mitchel and Mitchel in Mashonaland East and Dotito Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland Central Province."

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora, Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Deputy Minister Abigail Damasane and Cde Patrick Zhuwao also graduated.

In his address UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said the 2014 year has been encouraging with a significant number of strategic partners offering scholarships to support students at the institution.

"The support is a realisation on the part of the partners that educating the nation and capital human base development should not be left to government alone," he said.

Professor Nyagura outlined several strategies that the university is rolling out to ensure it remains in top rankings in terms of the quality of graduates and their relevance to the needs of the 21st century.

He said the university is demanding that academic staff be holders of doctorate degrees saying 2013 saw 13 academic staff attaining doctorates while 23 have acquired doctoral degrees this year.

Professor Nyagura paid homage to the team of doctors led by a UZ academic Mr Mbuvayesango who successfully conducted an operation on the Siamese twins.

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