Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Reporter
THE government should urgently address the issue of brain drain in mathematics and science subjects which has cascaded from teacher training institutions to schools.Speaking at a graduation ceremony at United College of Education (UCE) in Bulawayo on Friday, Dr Attwell Mamvuto – a representative of the University of Zimbabwe, an affiliate of all teacher training institutions in the country – said brain drain was still prevalent in the country’s colleges cascading to schools.
Dr Mamvuto urged the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, to look into the issue of capacitating institutions so that the exodus of skilled personnel stops.
“Honourable Minister, we rely on your ministry to urgently assist colleges to improve the staffing situation especially in the teachers’ colleges so that re-introduction of science subjects is enhanced and becomes a reality.
“The brain drain still continues causing our schools to suffer from a depletion of teachers in these areas. This depletion affects even our teachers’ colleges,” he said.
Dr Mamvuto added that the capacitation of training colleges would result in the introduction of applied sciences in colleges by 2016.
“We expect all primary teachers’ colleges to be ready to teach mathematics and applied science education including computer sciences by January 2016.
“Furthermore, opportunities must be created to train resource teachers for physics, chemistry and biology. Application of science should not be neglected,” he said.
Dr Mamvuto said the teaching of applied sciences would improve the country’s education leading to the development of the country.
If this applied sciences programme is initiated successfully, it will be a shot in the arm for children from Matabeleland region who have struggled with science and mathematics subjects resulting in them failing to get places for tertiary education at the National University of Science and Technology.
Last month, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora, said there was a serious shortage of science and mathematics teachers as there were 1,500 vacant posts for the subjects.
At the height of the country’s economic meltdown in 2008, the country experienced a mass exodus of skilled personnel including teachers. Science and mathematics were the most affected subjects and this has been cited as one of the reasons for poor pass rates in schools.