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The reluctance to change: will it cost us anything or everything?

By Trycolyn Pikirayi—
I know you might already think I’m all about what’s wrong with the tech scene in Zimbabwe, but I choose to view myself as a watchman; my job is to tell you the Zimbabwean tech flaws and you will choose whether to complain with me, or do something about it… So maybe all you entrepreneurs and innovators should keep tabs on these articles.

It is a well-known fact that in Zimbabwe, technology is being adopted at a depressingly slow rate. In this fast digitising world, we definitely cannot afford to do this. We might blame industries and companies for these setbacks, but I believe it starts off at an earlier stage than this – our educational curriculum.

You would be shocked to find out how old some syllabi at tertiary institutions are, this could be because adopting new technologies is expensive or just the reluctance to change. If it’s the latter then we really need to learn from nature because in the natural environment, you only have two options; to adapt or die!

I for one was frustrated by having to learn stereoscopy in a GIS course yet there are computer programs in place e.g. ArcGIS that can trim down on both effort and time while producing even better results compared to the former.

Apart from that, no company or organisation (that I know of) still uses stereoscopy for remote sensing, so instead of gaining this experience prior i.e. at school, you get to learn it on the job which becomes a waste of time and as we know time is money! This is just one example off the top of my head, now imagine this phenomenon recurring (of which it is) and its impact on businesses, not to mention how irrelevant schools then becomes.

But then again, I noticed that generally, Zimbabwe has a phobia for change; another random example: the Highway Code. If you go through it, you’ll discover that some questions are no longer relevant to our context but we still get examined using these very same irrelevant questions. Nevertheless, I say it’s high time we get out of our comfort zones. Syllabi in Zimbabwe should be flexible enough for change.

We don’t need to learn things that we don’t need to know or better still, things that we will not even apply. Often the general justification for this backwardness if I may call it, is that we understand better if we grasp concepts from the foundation, but really?

What we should realise is; while we spend time focusing on the archaic, some are spending time advancing and mastering the new and relevant. Then we have the audacity to ask ourselves why we are always ten steps behind? Rhetoric I say!

So maybe the minister of primary and secondary education, Dr. Dokora is onto something with his new curriculum or the idea thereof? Or indeed it does not make sense? Or maybe the changes are just too dramatic for a fellow Zimbabwean who naturally has developed inertia?Yes, this is yet another call to sober up and ponder on these things

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