Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Beitbridge Paramount Chief Vho Stauze (David Mbedzi) has appealed to Government to urgently consider building a polytechnic college in Beitbridge town as part of expanding access to institutions of higher learning in the country.
The traditional leader said the situation in the district with a population of over 200 000 and 70 primary and 16 secondary schools was worrisome.
Chief Stauze said the high crime rate and level of prostitution in the town, where most young adults have nothing to do, was a cause for concern.
He said numerous calls have been made to development agencies to take up investment opportunities in tertiary education and that the response has been lukewarm.
In an interview last week, the traditional leader said the status quo in Beitbridge had resulted in children travelling for over 300 kilometres to South Africa to access colleges and universities, a set-up which was cumbersome for most parents considering the current economic climate.
“As a traditional leader, my main concern which is giving me a headache is the state of education facilities in Beitbridge district,” said Chief Stauze. “This is not the first time I am making such a request and definitely not the last time I am saying this.
“We need a polytechnic college where our youths can take up training on any life changing course and empowering skills.
These may include ICT, building, engineering, carpentry, textiles, catering, marketing, accounting, business management, purchasing, communication and hotel and tourism management.
“Having such a facility or facilities will ensure that our youths are equipped with different skills that will enable them to be employed in different companies and organizations locally without labouring in getting into universities”.
Chief Stauze said he wanted children to get employed even if they did not have mathematics and related subjects.
“You will note that some people are not academically gifted, but they do have different talents in arts or building or carpentry,” he said.
He said it was critical for Government to look at the prospect of availing equal opportunities on access to basic needs, among them higher education for all citizens.
Chief Stauze said children who completed high school should be encouraged to acquire good qualifications with relative easy for them to compete fairly on the national and world human resources markets.
“If we can have a polytechnic college, as a community leader, I will do everything to encourage young children and the youths in Beitbridge to fully utilise the institution,” he said.
“It is disheartening to note that we are losing young children and the youth to drugs, prostitution, early marriages, brain drain and labour migration daily.”
Chief Stauze said a new polytechnic college or university in Beitbridge would attract a lot of students, including those from neighbouring districts in South Africa due to the town’s geographical location.