Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has lauded the requirement for students enrolling in higher and tertiary education institutions to have Ordinary Level Mathematics, saying the government was leaning towards science subjects for the nation’s development. VP Mnangagwa was on Friday responding to an outcry by students from polytechnics and teachers’ colleges, who felt it was unfair for higher and tertiary institutions not to accept those with no Mathematics at O Level.
The VP was addressing students from various institutions at Bulawayo Polytechnic during a public lecture on the constitution as an instrument for sustainable socio-economic development in the country.
The students appealed to the VP over the Mathematics requirement, saying thousands of other students at polytechnics in the country had been left stranded following a government directive that all those who did not pass the subject at O-Level should not proceed to the next level until they produce proof that they have passed the subject.
“I understand that you’re worried about Mathematics. Our Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo is promoting a bias towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) because currently most universities have a bias towards arts and social sciences.
“It’s government policy that we also give sciences their place in the development of our country. This is therefore why our Minister is promoting science education.”
He said the government was also expanding university education by establishing a Pan-African University in Mining Development and two extra universities in Matabeleland South and Manicaland provinces, which have remained without State Universities.
“We’ve also put in place institutions to ensure quality assurance and skills development in our higher and tertiary education institutions.
“We’ve also been alive to the need for continuously interrogating the adequacy and relevance of our education system. In 2013, His Excellence President Mugabe appointed a whole Ministry of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities, with a mandate of incorporating practical subjects and equipping young learners with life skills,” said VP Mnangagwa.
He said the new education curriculum would give birth to a methodical technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system, where education will include on-the-job training with production.
The TVET system, he added, is well grounded in the country’s ZimAsset economic blueprint that students can take advantage of to hone their skills in agriculture and mining.
Prof Moyo last year said there should be no argument over the requirement for Mathematics as it was policy and the debate was closed.
Last week, his deputy Godfrey Gandawa said the Ministry would in the next two weeks announce new guidelines on the way forward for students who were enrolled at institutions of higher learning without Mathematics at O-Level.
He said the issue was under discussion within the Ministry.