More vocational centres for rural areas Hotel and catering students in class at Binga Polytechnical College (File picture)

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT has pledged to construct more Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in rural areas as part of its thrust to promote rural industrialisation.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has adopted Education 5.0 whose thrust is to promote economic development through knowledge and skills. The ministry has committed to spreading education across the country.

Last year, the Government established the Binga Polytechnic College and work on the Plumtree Polytechnic College has started.
The Government said other polytechnics and technical colleges will be constructed in areas such as Beitbridge, Honde Valley, Kariba and Chirundu among other areas.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira

In his latest report, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said the Government will ensure rural communities get skills for them to contribute to an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

He said more learning institutions will be established in rural areas to empower communities.
“Government is looking towards deeper penetration of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) into communities through the Integrated Skills Expansion Outreach Programme (ISEOP),” said Prof Murwira.

“Through this programme, the objective is rural industrialisation through providing skills for the production of goods and services to citizens with different abilities and needs regardless of age, sex or educational background following the mantra ‘leaving no one and no place behind.’”

As part of the ministry’s objective of spreading higher and tertiary education to the periphery, Government supports the development of innovation hubs and industrial parks at higher learning institutions.

The Government is also constructing accommodation facilities for both students and staff for universities. In the same report, the ministry’s permanent secretary Prof Fanuel Tagwira said Education 5.0 has enabled the country to leverage its resources hence the need to develop competencies that put the country on a strategic position.

“As a ministry we are proud of the support that Government has given to our institutions to make the achievements documented in this report possible. To support Education 5.0, the President has provided our institutions with resources to build innovation hubs and industrial parks at every State University,” said Prof Tagwira.

“If a student has a good idea, she or he is given space and resources in the innovation hub to work on the idea with support from academics and industry specialists until a product/prototype is produced that will be taken to the industrial park to set up a start-up company.”
He said the National Critical Skills Audit that was done in 2018 identified skills gaps that need to be addressed for Government to develop a knowledge-driven economy.

Prof Tagwira said the higher and tertiary sector is walking the talk in terms of implementing President Mnangagwa’s vision of putting citizens at the centre-stage of national development under the “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabaninilo” philosophy.

“The realisation that no nation can sustainably develop without investing in its education system was uppermost in our minds. Setting and sustaining economic growth in a country demands among other things, investments in human capital development,” he said.

“Under the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa and championed by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development, Zimbabwe has made some bold moves with significant investments in the transformation of our education system.”

Prof Tagwira said the past five years have laid the foundation to direct how higher and tertiary institutions can contribute to socio-economic growth.
“The next five years will see our country reach its moment of greatness. An innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy as espoused in National Development Strategy 1 is our strategic intent and it’s achievable,” he said. —@nqotshili

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