COMMENT: Independence brought massive  transformation in education sector President Mnangagwa lights the Independence Flame at Uhera Stadium, Murambinda B High School in Buhera, during the 44th Independence Day Celebrations yesterday. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

Patrick Chitumba, [email protected]

INDEPENDENCE has brought massive transformation in the education sector which is equipping Zimbabweans to become masters of their destiny from primary and secondary level as the Government is constructing more schools across the country.

As the country recently celebrated 44 years of independence, the director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE), Mr Taungana Ndoro said:

“As the MoPSE, we are pleased with the milestones we have achieved over the last 44 years and more so during the Second Republic wherein last year we boasted of 10 517 schools but right now we have 10  681 schools,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said there are 7 507 Primary Schools and 3 174 Secondary Schools across the country.

“From 2023 to date, 164 schools have been registered just to indicate some of the measures that have been put in place by the Second Republic to ensure the availability of schools for learners leaving no one and no place behind,” he said.

Mr Ndoro added that some significant milestones recorded in the education sector in Zimbabwe over the last 44 years include the following milestones: Independence and Education Expansion (1980).

“Following Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the Government placed a strong emphasis on education.

The Ministry of Education was established and efforts were made to expand access to education for all citizens, particularly in rural areas,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said under the Universal Primary Education (1994), the Government introduced the Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy in 1994, aiming to provide free primary education for all children in Zimbabwe.

He said the policy significantly increased enrolment rates and access to education.

Mr Ndoro said in the early 2000s, Zimbabwe implemented major curriculum reforms, including the introduction of a new curriculum framework.

“These reforms aimed to enhance the quality and relevance of education, promote critical thinking skills and align education with national development goals. In 2015 we introduced the Competence-Based Curriculum which focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and now in 2024 we have the Heritage-based Curriculum which is an educational approach that aims to integrate culture and heritage into the teaching and learning process. It was introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as a way to preserve and promote Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage among pupils. This curriculum seeks to foster a sense of identity, pride and appreciation for Zimbabwean history, traditions and indigenous knowledge,” he explained.

Another milestone, Mr Ndoro said, is the Education for All (EFA) Goals (2000) where Zimbabwe committed to achieving the EFA goals, which included improving access to quality education, promoting gender equality and enhancing adult literacy rates.

“We also have Teacher Training and Professional Development where efforts were made to strengthen teacher training and professional development programmes. Teacher training institutions were established, and ongoing training opportunities were provided to enhance teachers’ skills and knowledge,” he said.

Mr Ndoro noted that STEM was also a great milestone in recent years, where the Government placed increased emphasis on promoting skills in the relevant areas.

“This includes the establishment of specialised STEM schools and the integration of STEM subjects into the curriculum. More recently, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has also established fully-fledged technical high schools which are educational institutions that focus on providing pupils with practical skills and knowledge in various technical fields,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said the schools aimed to equip pupils with the necessary skills to pursue careers in industries such as engineering, technology and vocational trades.

He added that the technical high schools aim to prepare pupils for both employment opportunities and entrepreneurship by providing them with practical skills and knowledge in specific technical fields.

By offering specialised technical education, Mr Ndoro said, these schools contribute to the development of a skilled workforce in Zimbabwe.

“Another milestone is investment in infrastructure where the Government has invested in infrastructure development, including the construction and renovation of schools, classrooms, laboratories and libraries to improve learning environments and facilities,” he said.

As MoPSE, Mr Ndoro said they have education for children with special needs, including the establishment of special schools and inclusive education initiatives.

“In conclusion we have also introduced digital learning initiatives such as the provision of computers, internet connectivity and e-learning platforms to enhance educational access and technological literacy as we envisage to become a prosperous and empowered middle-income economy by the year 2030,” he said.

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