Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged learners to take science subjects and emerging new fields of study as Government escalates the drive to modernise the economy in line with the fast changing world.
Speaking during the commissioning of the $6 million state-of-the art Science Centre at St George’s College in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said learners should be encouraged to undertake research, creative innovations and inventions from a very young age.
“Primary and secondary educators and administrators should be imaginative and see beyond present horizons by teaching skills and also providing facilities which will ensure that our learners are equipped with competencies which are in sync with the fast changing world,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the multi-faceted developmental programmes in the education sector required concerted efforts from all quarters of the nation.
He implored the private sector and developmental partners, civil society organisations and churches to increase their collaboration with Government through the provision of cutting edge and responsive education system.
“As we grow our economy, education, training and development at every level in our country must offer knowledge, skills and competences which talks to the future, modern, industrialised, technology and prosperous society we are destined to become,” he said.
President Mnangagwa discouraged educators from the bias of merely teaching learners to obtain A grades, but focus on mentoring competent learners capable of contributing towards the country’s development.
He applauded the Jesuits for their investment in education and development of human capital base in the country.
“The construction of schools and various learning institutions as well as infrastructure such as this, for which we are gathered, bears testimony of your contribution towards literacy levels in our country,” said President Mnangagwa.
“In addition, the Jesuits have also prioritised the development and provision of health services and the general improvement in the quality of life of our people. Government recognises and commends you in this regard.”
President Mnangagwa hailed St George’s College for venturing into the practical area of studying global perspective at both primary and secondary levels, developing skills in problem solving and innovating thinking.
“We commend the trailblazing initiative and exhort that your programmes also seek to proffer solutions to the realities we face in all parts of our beautiful country,” he said.
Government, said the President, remained committed to ensure equal access to quality and affordable education for all young learners.
“The budget allocation to the tune of $1,2 billion to the primary and secondary education sector attest to this commitment,” he said.
President Mnangagwa challenged the private sector and individuals to play their part and offer scholarships to learners from an early age as opposed to supporting only those in tertiary institutions.
“I also invite more corporate social responsibility programmes towards the improvement of schools in disadvantaged rural communities and newly resettled farming areas,” he said.
President Mnangagwa hailed the information communication technological advancement and the positive impact that it has had on learners’ access to information.
But he was quick to remind all stakeholders and parents to remain alive to the social risks associated with this sphere, especially to the youth.
“I further call on us all to consciously dialogue on how we can collectively ensure that we raise young people who will be good and responsible citizens proud of their heritage, culture and national identity grounded on our African philosophy of hunhu/ubuntu, hardworking, respectful, and honest and live in peace and harmony with each other and their environment,” he said.
The school head Mr John Farreli said his college was not only providing world class teaching facilities, but also giving professional development for the teaching faculty.
Mr Farreli said the latest development at the school was in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision that primary and secondary education should seek to inculcate an inquisitive mind-set among learners and demystify the myth that science-related courses were difficult.
“What you have seen and our guests will witness is how we at St George’s College are reinforcing this national vision,” he said.
“We have added a further computer laboratory to assist with the increasing number of students studying information technology and computer science to Advanced Level.”
The Science Centre was named after Father Michael Ross in honour of his contribution towards science teaching at the school and the country at large.
He authored some of the science text books that were used after the country’s independence in 1980.