Felex Share, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa yesterday launched three key inter-linked programmes which will shape the country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda in line with Government’s Vision 2030.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has set itself a target to transform Zimbabwe into a middle income economy in the next 12 years.
The programmes launched yesterday to drive the transformational agenda are the Zimbabwe National Critical Skills Audit (ZNCSA), Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework (ZNQF) and the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA).
The skills audit will interrogate skills deficits, surpluses and trends in economic clusters which include engineering and technology, natural and applied sciences, agriculture, medical and health sciences, business and commerce and applied arts and humanities.
“This exercise will undoubtedly enhance precision in the human capital development planning and serve as a guiding tool in our industrialisation and modernisation agenda,” President Mnangagwa said.
“I therefore exhort the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development to facilitate the training of critical skills to increase quantity, quality and relevance of our higher education curricula in line with the present and future needs. In the same vein, I challenge institutions of higher learning to consider the results of this audit in their strategic planning processes so that faculties and departments appropriately respond to our national and industry skills gap,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said primary and secondary school level education systems should also be alive to the audit results to chart the career paths of learners.
As such, said President Mnangagwa, greater synergies were needed between the ministries responsible for education for the skills and competencies of human capital to be in tandem with the country’s economic thrust.
“Schools should stop the practice of dissuading learners from undertaking science related subjects,” the President said.
“At family level, parents and guardians must make conscious efforts to identify, inculcate, develop and nurture scientific mindsets amongst children from a very young age.”
President Mnangagwa said Government would modernise and equip higher learning institutions to increase competencies in scientific fields.
On the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework, he said it would standardise educational qualifications and ease movement of students from one institution to another.
“This framework integrates education into a unified structure by coordinating education, training institutions and qualification awarding bodies into a national recognisable qualification system,” President Mnangagwa said.
“As a result, students will be able to transfer from one institution to the other. Prior learning and experience will now be recognised before acceptance into institutions of higher learning.”
Most Sadc countries have a unified qualification framework.
The President said the launch of the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency was timely as it would enhance satellite communication systems.
He said the country would use the ZINGSA to enhance agriculture, mineral exploration, wildlife conservation, disease surveillance and infrastructure management and mapping.
“This programme is expected to enhance Zimbabwe’s capabilities in global policy discourses on generation, access, use and regulation of the application of space technologies and innovations for sustainable development. To this end, I challenge all stakeholders in this field to take advantage of our engagement and re-engagement policy and establish mutually beneficial partnerships from across the globe,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I am confident that (the three initiatives) they will motivate the nation to embrace and generate good and services through proper deployment of intellectual capabilities and also serve as a catalyst for our country’s international competitiveness and growth.
“This launch signals in practical terms the usefulness of research, development and innovation in solving real life problems to the generality of our people.
Researchers across the country must not work in silos but strive to create synergies with Government and the private sector among others in pursuit of national interest.”
He said Government would set aside one percent of GDP to support innovation, research and development and establishment of incubation hubs.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the country’s education system should be relevant to the demands of the economy.
“It must maintain a high level of responsiveness to the demands of the market,” he said.
“It is possible to achieve Vision 2030 if we do things that matter. We want to do things that have a meaning to this country. We want to create jobs whose names we do not know today but our activities will result in those jobs.”
The minister said the three programmes were the foundation needed to transform the country.
“This is not a drill, it is real,” Prof Murwira said.
“We want to break fronts as we industrialise and grow our economy. We are dreaming big and we will do so in the realms of reality.”
Yesterday’s launch was attended by principals of higher and tertiary institutions and vocational training centres, vice chancellors, students, captains of industry and corporates.