Prosper Ndlovu recently in Gweru
HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, officially commissioned a newly built Adventist College of Education in Gweru on Saturday where he applauded the church for assisting the Government in education development.
The Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church has championed the project, which began in 2015. About 300 primary teacher students are set to be enrolled for three-year training courses when the college opens its doors in September this year. Upon completion, the college is expected to enrol up to 1 500 students per intake.
Prof Murwira, who was accompanied by his secretary, Dr Desire Sibanda and top ministry officials, senior University of Zimbabwe staff, principals and representatives from different tertiary learning institutions, conducted a tour of the newly built compound structure, which comprises six lecture rooms, a principal’s office and an auditorium.
In his address, the minister said infrastructure development was critical towards enhancing quality standards in higher and tertiary education as well as inspiring students.
“Infrastructure is very important in education and I congratulate you (the church) for this project. Education infrastructure has to be inspiring,” said Prof Murwira.
He said Government would continue working closely with the church and give practical support to those institutions that champion infrastructure development. Prof Murwira said his ministry and diverse partners were already mobilising resources to bankroll numerous higher and tertiary education projects. These facilities, he said, would help strengthen skills development and training that are needed in the economy. The minister said higher and tertiary education should speak to the needs of society and produce graduates that contribute to national development.
The new college has since been granted associate status of the University of Zimbabwe, which supervised the drafting of the curriculum. The university will also oversee examination systems and certification processes. Principal designate, Mr Lovemore Chirobe, expressed readiness to start work.
“What we have here is enough for us to start with a group of at least 300 students and we can take off using this structure. We are ready to have one intake now. In the near future we need to have more staff offices,” he said.
“We have heard today a confirmation that we might start in September this year, so that alone is to a certain extent a challenge for us because we need to have staff in place so that we can recruit.”
Mr Chirobe said the new college syllabi has already been approved by the University of Zimbabwe after thorough consultation with education experts.
“In terms of master-plan, the new college should be able to enrol 1 500 students. It’s actually a very big college if you look at the drawings on paper. We are looking forward to constructing more buildings,” he said. “Right now we would like to build some hostels for male and female students. We also wish to build a clinic for student’s health and later on a grand dining hall with a lot of facilities. For now we are going to start with day students since we don’t have hostels.”
SDA Church director of education in the Central Zimbabwe Conference, Dr Felix Njini, said the new college was part of the global family of education institutions run by the church, bound together by common Biblical philosophical foundations.
“We believe education and redemption are one. Our approach to education is holistic in nature in that we seek to develop the mental, physical, spiritual and social wellbeing of a person. Our thrust is restoration of the total human being,” he said.
Principal Director in charge of academic affairs, Mr John Dewa, said the new college was an output of serious engagements between the church and Government in the last two years. The SDA Church also runs Solusi University in Matabeleland South, several health facilities and primary and schools across the country.