Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development is aiming to train more science teachers, promote learning and application of science to boost skills among Zimbabweans.
This came out during the oral evidence presented by the ministry on its 2019 Budget priorities before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
The committee was conducting the 2019 consultations with the objective of gathering key highlights to be used in the compilation of a report whose key highlights will be presented to the Budget consultation forum in November.
The secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Fanuel Tagwira told the committee that there were few science teachers and the ministry was keen to train more teachers if it gets funding.
He said countries such as Brazil, Singapore, India and Malaysia that invested in higher and tertiary education were developed.
“We expect that our higher tertiary education institutions to produce graduates who can analyse problems objectively and apply facts that they learn in class to the problems faced in society.
“We also expect the institutions to become engines for development and help Zimbabwe to catch up with the rest of the world and to be able to tackle national challenges and stimulate industrialisation.
He urged Government to set aside one percent of the GDP for research and development.
“Zimbabwe according to the national audit skills has 94 percent literacy rate, but our skills level is at 34 percent.
“There is need for continuous assessment to identify critical skills to grow the economy and find solutions to the challenges being faced by the country.”
Zimbabwe has intellectual property, but lags behind due to patent issues.
He added that the ministry would also want to ensure there are polytechnic colleges in every province.
“In the next five years we should produce 5 000 science teachers,” he said.
He said the ministry has been facing challenges that included lack of funding for students fees, transport challenges at the institutions, unfinished construction projects at polytechnics and lack of highly-qualified personnel as they move to universities where there was better remuneration.
The committee felt that the ministry did not bring the required information and was given up to today to submit the information.
The committee’s acting chairperson, Ms Joana Mamombe said they expected the ministry to provide details on how much money they were allocated and how much they required this year.
She said the ministry should bring documents to show how they used the money allocated to them between January and September 2018.
They are expected to appear before the committee again after availing the required information.