THE United States is warming up to Government’s re-engagement policy, with the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols calling for deeper cooperation between the two countries in the education sector.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima met Ambassador Nichols on Wednesday in Harare, where the two officials agreed to cooperate in five areas in the education sector.
“We met yesterday at his request,” said Prof Mavima.
“We met at my office. He was suggesting that we roll out a programme of cooperation between the United States and Zimbabwe in various areas in education.
“He came up with five specific programmes. Some of them are already in operation, but they can be broadened and expanded.”
Prof Mavima said areas of cooperation include scholarship programmes for low-income, but high-performing students, exchange programmes for teachers and high school outreach programmes on US education opportunities.
He said the cooperation between the two countries would expose beneficiaries of the programmes to one of the best education systems in the world, while capacitating them.
Prof Mavima said the cooperation could be used as a catalyst for re-engagement with the US.
“We have not had sound relations with the Americans for obvious reasons — ZDERA and imposition of sanctions,” he said. “The general orientation of the United States has been to see Zimbabwe as a pariah state.
“But in the new dispensation, we are saying we want to re-engage and I feel that this is an area where we could start talking with the Americans.
“Educational cooperation, educational exchange . . . through that kind of arrangement, the Americans can start understanding us as Zimbabweans.
“We can dialogue in ways in which Americans can appreciate where we are coming from as a nation, and where we are saying we really don’t want interference on issues that should be determined on the basis of our territorial integrity and sovereignty. It opens up channels on which the two nations with different cultures can start to understand each other.”