The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka has launched the Agricultural Education for Development 5.0 curricula for agricultural colleges.
The new curriculum is expected to respond to the needs of the economy and provide learners with skills, knowledge and competencies important for the labour market, personal development and active citizenship.
It focuses on training, business advisory, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The curriculum was jointly spearheaded by the European Union-funded 40 million Euro project, Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) led by the Community Technology Development Organization (CTDO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Resettlement.
CTDO programme manager, Mr Patrick Kasasa led the development process.
Minister Masuka said the current rigid agricultural education system had not been responding to the requirements of farmers resettled under the land reform programme, with production and productivity negatively affected.
“Agricultural colleges have continued to produce graduates ill-suited… It is this context that the transformation of Zimbabwe’s agricultural college education system is long overdue,” Dr Masuku.
The Minister said that Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society eloquently enunciated by the President His Excellency Dr E.D Mnangagwa requires a new education paradigm as agriculture is the core of rural development and rural transformation to power the improvement of livelihoods.
Minister Dr Masuku said that Zimbabwe’s journey to 2030 was guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS1).
“The Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (2020-2025) is an important component of NDS1. It seeks to transform lives and livelihoods. This must be propelled by a new education system.”
European Union representative Mr Martin Zhou said they welcomed the new curriculum because it contributed to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.
“Its focus is on increasing profitability, building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and the private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms, and policy alignment,” said Mr Zhou.
“The curriculum also responds to the national policy landscape relevant to agriculture including: Zimbabwe Vision 2030: which seeks to grow the country into a middle-income economy by 2030, National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025): First 5-year Medium Term Plan aimed at realising Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 through strategies of import substitution through growing local value chains based on Zimbabwe’s own comparative advantages.”