Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) – The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has said polytechnics should be hubs of skills and technological development for the production of quality goods and services.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Director of Higher Education Programmes, Martha Muguti during Gweru Polytechnic’s 30th graduation ceremony, Minister Professor Amon Murwira said polytechnics had a task of closing the skills gap in the country.
He said the 2018 Zimbabwe National Critical Skills Audit revealed that national literacy rate was at 94 percent against a national skills level of 38 percent with engineering and technology sector having 6,43 percent available skills and a deficit of – 93, 57 percent.
Prof Murwira said it was worthwhile to note that government had put in place a competence based curriculum that has coherent progression from primary and secondary education to higher and tertiary education.
“The new curriculum and the new Education 5.0 are Siamese twins meant to guarantee production of a highly competent, innovative, hands-on artisan, technician, technologist and engineer.
“A product of our school system who enters the TVET system of education is a natural innovator who answers in the affirmative to the dictates of digitalisation and other emerging technologies of the 21st century.
“Such a versatile cadre should live up to the real expectations of society by fulfilling their needs through research based innovation, product customisation and differentiation,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the occasion’s theme, “Enhancing skills development for the production of quality goods and services” encapsulates the Ministry’s new heritage based trajectory which find expression in the way polytechnics ought to transact their businesses.
“Today’s teaching and learning ought to reflect a new pedagogy, a radical departure from yesteryear.
“Tertiary education should no longer be viewed as an end in itself but as a means or a high road to industrialisation and modernisation.
“A rich nexus ought to be created between polytechnic education and industrial policy.”
He said the absence of an integrated skills development strategy and industrial development policy would render it difficult for the country to attain the desired industrialisation and modernisation of the country.
Prof Murwira said polytechnics should embark on a relentless drive for adoption, adaptation and import substitution of advanced technologies in line with the policy of developing and adopting scientific technologies that make Zimbabwe competitive in the 21st century.
Gweru Polytechnic principal, Washington Chandiwana said a total of 735 graduands, with 16 under the University of Zimbabwe’s technical and vocational teacher education programme received certificates, diplomas and higher national diplomas.
He said the overall pass rate at the institution was 72 percent.
Chandiwana said the polytechnic was currently working on the biogas kitchen, clinic construction, water reticulation and fabrication workshop.
He said the institution was planning to acquire a farm, introduce new courses and produce functional teaching models.
The Times-New Ziana