‘Scrap Maths’: Relax college entry requirements: Min

Professor Amon Murwira

Professor Amon Murwira

Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has said tertiary institutions must scrap Mathematics as a requirement for students to study programmes which do not require calculations.

He said the education sector cannot be uniform and institutions of higher education deserved to be accorded academic freedom.

Addressing academics at Bulawayo Polytechnic in Bulawayo on Thursday, Prof Murwira said Mathematics cannot be a requirement for all programmes.

“If a subject or if a qualification really requires people to calculate. I think Mathematics is important isn’t it? But you can’t say we want English and Mathematics where even you don’t need to calculate.  There is this inflexibility sometimes that is introduced. I think universities, polytechnics and colleges are some of the most conservative institutions. Let’s be more flexible concerning this, when you see it’s needed yes it’s needed. It cannot be a general entry qualification,” he said.

He said there must be academic freedom in tertiary and higher education institutions.

“Because sometimes you say English but the person is going to make some brick making machines, I think it’s about us being flexible on that one,” he said.

“We want to give academic freedom to our institutions, it means you look at your logic, and don’t be a slave of your regulation because you made it, make another one. That’s what I mean when I say owning the country; you can’t be a slave of a regulation.”

Prof Murwira was responding to questions from lecturers from Bulawayo Polytechnic, School of Hospitality and Tourism and Westgate Industrial College who expressed concern over low enrolment due to Mathematics and English requirement for all courses they offer.

The lecturers also complained of repetition at institutions of higher learning where students who have qualifications from polytechnics have to start from the bottom when they enrol at universities.

One lecturer gave an example of students who qualify with a higher national diploma in Information Technology but are taught introduction to computers when they enrol at universities.

“In our 100 day plan we have the national qualifications framework is supposed to allow movement of students from tertiary institutions to higher education institutions without repeating courses that they have done.  It means that they may have to start maybe second semester or exempted from certain courses which means they may have to finish faster. Zimche (Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education) is working on it. Sometimes you wonder why people may have not seen it,” said Prof Murwira.

He said technological and scientific development should be rooted in culture and heritage.

“We cannot boast of 92 percent literacy. Literacy is very good because it’s a raw material for things to come but cross the bridge now because you are now literate, let’s start to make things with that literacy because that’s the clarion call.  When you have made things don’t put it in the cupboard, look for a loan that will guarantee production. We want to do futuristic research, that’s how Zimbabwe can become creators and the time is now,” said Prof Murwira.

He was in Gwanda on Wednesday and has toured Hillside Teachers’ College, Bulawayo Polytechnic, National University of Science and Technology as well as Lupane State University main campus. — @AuxiliaK.

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  • Bekezela Moyo

    Which area in life does not need one to apply mathematical skills….just be careful MINISTER…you will end up destroying the education sector. Getting in charge doesn’t mean you have to overhaul the whole system otherwise you will eliminate good systems that are in place and were well thought out before their implementation. We need the best for our lovely country….

    • benjamin

      its only being said that a PASS in Maths is not necessary for ENTRY TO non-technical courses. This does dot mean a person who is going to pursue say English at UZ or some college can be expected to be totally oblivious to Maths. One may fail Maths at O Level but it does not mean he can’t add, subtract, multipily, divide, plot and interpret graphs etc or even calculate area, make conversions etc. You will find that even a person who got a U or an E in Maths can apply arithmetic and some Maths to his daily life and can calculations with no problems. However he obviously cannot be expected to gain entry to a course in Fitting and Turning, Mechanics, Engineering, Science, Commerce because of the high command of Mathematics required there.

      So it would be unfair for us to say one cannot gain entry into college at all just because they did not get a good pass in Maths at O Level. There are many causes out there where knowledge of BODMAS is enough. Remember, a pass simply means you were successful in the exam, a fail in the exam does not mean you are totally oblivious to the subject, it simply means that whilst you learn’t it, you probably did not MASTER it to the point at which you can actually get rigorously tested in a short space of time and come out with a C.

      • chrogic

        Thank youuuuuuu!! you are the only one making sense in this forum thank you once again!!!

        • hoppy

          Ma UUUUUUU hamumaziye mdara! Yes someone might have done Maths but with a U how then can we ascertain that she can “subtract, multipy and divide” we need to have a benchmark so as to eradicate impartiality. Someone once said to me if u dont want too many questions juss include a few pie charts in your presentation! Vanhu vanoti ziiii kunge mafiwa kkkkkk. I stand corrected but now that the new carriculum has practicals isnt it the way forwad than the previous final exams? Lets embrace that first then we consider the Proffesors idea later. Totally scraping Maths for those non wat wat courses myt be a grave mistake. Maths dzakatumwa kuzongwadza vanhu, Alluta Continua

          Vanhu ngavadzidze kana kudzokorora vana Pace, Herentals, Trust vaitewo mari.

      • Kumkani

        That’s why arts are also important they improve comprehension skills . This I’d the only relevant contribution so far. Maths people fumbled big time. Kkkk that’s why we need that diversity .

  • Vumani

    This one is worse than the lunatic Lazarus Dakora , he does not set any standards , he has been undeniably tasked to change and reverse every policy that was devised by Professor Moyo to the detriment of pupils & parents. STEM is the future of development, very soon tertiary institutions will be churning out mickeymouse graduates without fundamental subjects which equip them for careers in a competitive global environment. He should resign immediately he putting the future of young people in jeopardy with his ill thought policies.

    • Mafidi

      So true

  • NIC

    this idiot is cultivating laziness from students….he should be removed from being min

    • chrogic

      You are disrespectful and it shows what kind of a person you are.You calling a minister an idiot it explains your disrespecful upringing

  • BonzoReChihuta

    The mathematics blanket requirement was a stupid one. Murwira is right, we cannot be a slave of requirements we have created ourselves! A teacher, for example at Primary school will need Maths…but a teacher at Secondary school who teaches say, English Literature and SiNdebele, doesn’t need a maths qualification. What for?

  • Pablo

    The Prof is very right,we are bound by the regulations we set,why would i need maths to be a Shona/Ndebele teacher?Basic arithmetic comprehension is enough.

    • Tauro

      after marking the Ndebele/Shona paper then the teacher will fail to add the marks or to convert it into a percentage…I bet this Geography teacher has no Maths at O Level…..

      • Lokayi WaNkomponi

        Kikiki I agree with you Tauro, the Prof probably doesn’t have mathematics himself!

    • Teacher Fainos

      U must be able to sikwenjula, to poponjai and to conferburate whats in the chalk box or your mbombostoity will be real sorry with the njanjastic education officer. Got it? Teacher Fainos hates to shake hands with a prof. dr or master of this and that who can’t even count the toes in his left shoe, let alone express them as a %age of the remainder of the teeth in his motor mouth.

  • mniningwane

    Total scrapping of maths is wrong but he should have proposed lowering the bar to say that a D symbol in maths can be requirement to do technical courses because you will find maths in Human Resources, Marketing but not in arts where the minister can drop the requirement

    • Ganu

      That’s a tangent did u read to comprehend or u just rushed to comment?

  • Icho

    Prof is one of a kind. Bravo Pro Murwira. But better you say an E, or D would be okay for those subjects which do not need Maths.

  • Mbalisi

    this guy is clueless….he is going to lower our standards…the next time am sure he will be saying…”a student who need enrollment at School of Hospitality should be enrolled even if they have one subject- Food and Nutrition after all what does he /she needs the other 4 subjects for if all the or she will be doing is to learn to cook”

  • Farther

    Ko what happened for us get to this stage??? of lowering standards. How about saying students should work harder. Ordinary Level Mathematics is not difficult. For the Arts, I think a D is fair. But as long as one wants to do some Science course to get a degree, C math minimum please. Mathematics is not difficult Minister. I would hate meeting someone called Dr so and so, in any field, without math in their background, even a D. Hazviite balance. Munhu ngaa funde.

    • Bird Eye Chilli

      It’s very easy even for me to be tempted to say that O Level Maths is not difficult. I will tell you what I found extremely difficult at school. it was the Arts subjects. Therefore, just because I found Maths to be so interesting and easy to walk through, I should not expect it to be the case for everyone. Some people are more interested in the arts, some in the commercials, some in the Sciences. Mind you, even in some of these technical professions you may not even need a high command of Maths to get qualifified – take for instance application development in certain programming languages.

    • Eileen B Zhou

      I agree. Most people do not release why people do well anothers when there both earn the some amount, that’s when accounts and bookkeeping come to effect explaining mortgages, interests and balancing cheque books, however to avoid debt etc.

  • Martin Makanza

    Ava ndi professor veyi? I can’t think of any degree programme where you don’t need to calculate something. Professor please give examples. In anycase our universities are over subscribed in spite of the maths requirement. Asi nhai professor maths dzaikushungurudzai here kana kuti mune mwana dofo? There is something wrong with the education portfolio.. education ministers have recently turned out to be complete nut jobs. Leave the system alone and concentrate on providing learners with decently furnished classrooms, books, computers, other learning aids including deploying teachers with relevant qualifications in the subjects they teach. If a masters degree is not good enough to teach at university level why should the student be a run of the mill sort of person.

    • chrogic

      Please leave the minister alone to do his work in peace without any disturbances from your nonsensical waffling.There are many students with good passes at A level in different subjects especially arts but they can not proceed to university because of this oppressive mathematics requirement,does that mean they will be stuck for the rest of their lives or spend the rest of their lives trying to pass maths.If you dont know maths you dont know it,same applies to those who are good in sciences and mathematics they are not good in arts.Why are you enjoying when other people are being deprived of their educational rights.I dont have maths but I excel in my area of my speciality.If you are to be asked to display your certificate maybe you dont even have a D in mathematics pathetic and heartless!!!

    • Eileen B Zhou


    • Anti racist

      Law, political science Arts do not need maths.

      • Mafidi

        We do not expect our lawyers to fail ORDINARY maths, basic maths,,,,,,,,,,,

        • Anti racist

          Tell me what they (pastors, lawyers and artists) use maths for, all they needs is basic literacy not solving equations etc. Maths is not relevant in their careers. Big difference between ordinary maths and (numeracy or maths literacy) which is necessary for everyone.

  • Asa

    Some of the lecturers are maths-less

  • Eileen B Zhou

    I agree. Maths comes in many forms. There is pure maths Pythagorean theorem, logs e.g. Then there is simple maths adding etc. The simple everyday simple maths which is accounts and bookkeeping. Learn to balance and budget, learn about mortgages etc. Most people need these day in everyday life. Yes there jobs where pure maths is required not all. I do not have the brain, patience or interest in pure maths.

  • Trotsky

    Jonso brainchild{ren} are all being phased out that is STEM payment out Maths requirement out whats next…

  • bh

    Maths was making Zimbaweans more educated.. now this


    Some people are brain dead, l suggested that they also scrap the teaching of useless subjects like SHONA and other local languages that you natives or settlers speak as they serve no purpose in industry and commerce. You all shouted loud wasting your energies and called me all sorts yet you fools are not comfortable speaking those useless local languages. I taught my kids just to learn to converse in their own language at home but never to attempt being colonised by others who talked to them in say SHONA. This they channelled their energies in other subjects only for them to excel hence they are professors and doctors. So l still suggest that native languages be watered down and be taught to at low levels. No wonder the Charamba guy even is quoted in his SHONA in a National paper. You lot still suffer from the effects of being colonised.

  • Danford Zirugo

    For those criticising the minister, i do have mathematics but i have never calclated anything in my line of prefession. The basics i have done they do not need one to have studied mathematics. What does someone doing Cosmotology, Art, Music need mathematics for.

  • Eugene Matikiti

    I used to think like the Prof. But no. Now going to 64 years and being a full time professional. I differ. You need Maths all your life to be streetwise. You need Maths in the bus, in the shop, at the airport, at church, everywhere. You might have low marks but you definitely need maths. Even if you passed badly you improve your Maths as time goes , you learn tricks etc. I got a 6 for History at O level in 1973 and thought I was bad. The Matikiti family now think Eugene is a historian. I remember things my dad told me about a lot of things. The struggle, the federation, The Second world war, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benjamin Borombo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo etc. I would pass History with flying colours if I sat for it today. I realise how much it is part of our lives and how it shapes the future.

  • ancube

    Its clear that this debate is about those that failed maths at O Level. Mathematics as a subject at school is not about addition or subtraction. Its about formatting your mind in a logical way necessary to pursue lifes disciplines. A lwyer needs maths because the logical order & systematic thinking processes that maths teaches & refines in you applies everywhere. That said l favour lowerng the grade to say D pass rate for certain arts subjects…..a few of them for that matter. If you have no C or better please go back to school. There are too many teachers & lecturers AND professors who have no maths are are now finally ganging up against the poor subject. If all teachers from ECD to Varsity had Maths then we wld not have this debate.