Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
THE government will soon make it mandatory for those wishing to enrol in universities and other institutions of higher learning to have Mathematics and Science subjects at Ordinary level, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has said.
Speaking during a familiarisation meeting with both academic and non-academic staff at Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo on Monday evening, Prof Moyo reiterated the importance of teaching Mathematics and Science subjects in schools adding that there is a deliberate policy to promote Mathematics and Science subjects from Early Child Development (ECD) stage.
“We want to start with the ECD curriculum emphasising Mathematics and Science. We don’t expect those without these subjects to enrol at higher and tertiary education. They can do other things as we’re not shutting the door for them to do different courses. One should have Mathematics and Science to proceed to tertiary,” he said.
Prof Moyo said there should not be an argument over the requirement for Mathematics for higher education as it is a policy and closed debate.
“There’re only 2,500 students who passed Mathematics at Ordinary Level last year in the whole country and it would be improper for this ministry not to intervene when standards of education are worsening,” he said.
“We want to correct mistakes that we made over the past 35 years. Higher and tertiary education must intervene because our primary education has been good, but secondary education has been very bad because of low pass rates.”
Prof Moyo also said lecturers without a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) could lose their jobs if they do not upgrade themselves by 2017 and the new requirement – set by the universities themselves – was aimed at improving standards and the international ranking of Zimbabwe’s higher learning institutions.
“The ministry supports the universities’ decision as it’s meant to improve the quality of education,” he said.
By the same year, said Prof Moyo, universities would be assessed for the number of copyrights, industrial designs and patents each have, in line with the transformation taking place in higher and tertiary education the world over.
“The minimum qualification for lecturing at all State universities should be a PhD by 2017. It would be problematic if one is to be found without a PhD by 2017. This is an expectation, suggested by the university chancellors not the ministry and we fully support that. However, universities have academic freedom, they can discuss it among themselves,” he said.
Prof Moyo said the university should remain a citadel of knowledge, noting that the question of quality at tertiary institutions remains key.
He said that Zimbabwean universities are not among top 50 universities in Africa simply because of lack of research as no meaningful researches are being undertaken.
“We’ll soon be carrying out assessments on our universities so that we grade them according to the number of their copyrights, industrial designs and patents that would be commercially exploited,’’ Prof Moyo said.
The grading of a university from first choice, second choice and so on will be determined by the number of commercially exploited patents, copyrights and industrial designs they made.
Prof Moyo also reaffirmed his ministry’s commitment to keep the price of education low, citing his recent plea with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to scrap the 40 percent import duty imposed on textbooks.
“We engaged the Ministry of Finance over the matter of 40 percent import duty per text book and $1 per page. It’s not their intention to impose duty and they’ve promised to address the issue soon. We expect the gazetting of the changes soon,” he added.
Prof Moyo donated 100 computers to the GZU Mashava campus library and another 50 to the university’s Mucheke campus.
The Minister, who was accompanied by directors from his ministry together with GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo, toured the university’s six campuses and heaped praise on the successful execution of the multi-campus system at the institution.