The Sunday News
Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
THE Government is working round the clock to ensure universities and polytechnics become innovation hubs amid revelations that the country has a very low skills level of 38 percent which does not go hand in glove with the country’s 94 percent literacy rate owing to the past education system that stifled innovation.
Presenting a public lecture titled, “Unpacking the new model, education 5.0 : expectations and challenges” at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s Robert Mugabe School of Education in Masvingo on Friday, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said it was disheartening to note that Zimbabwe was not faring well when it came to the issue of skills and yet it had the highest literacy rate in Africa.
He said the past education system kept Zimbabwean academics in a cage divided into moral, technological and scientifically models with its implementation based on 3.0 model which stifled innovation and needed to be overhauled.
“When we conducted the national skills audit from December 2017 to April 2018, the result we realised was that our literacy rate is at 94 percent and the national skills level is at 38 percent. You will meet someone being surprised while looking at the potholes on a road but doing nothing about them. The action should be to fill the pothole,” said Prof Murwira.
“Our natural sciences and humanities skills level is at 97 percent, business and commerce is 21 percent, agriculture 12 percent, health and medicine is five percent while the skills level for the arts is moderate,” he said.
He said the 3.0 education design worked well during its time as it served its intended purpose but it was high time the country adopted the 5.0 model design which put more emphasis on production of goods and services by universities and polytechnics.
“I am giving you a condition on how we can move out from the caged philosophy of the 3.0 model design through making goods and services as universities. The emphasis on 5.0 design is in knowledge and skills, as production can only happen when these two aspects are available. You cannot know and not do or do anything without knowing. Skills development is our main focus as a nation and President Mnangagwa is behind that,” he said.
He however, said some of the skills were deliberately devalued by professional bodies and said the system used to rate skills or qualifications should be scrutinised.
“Legal skills as well as medicine have a big deficit as we do not have many legal minds. This is due to bottlenecks in the systems introduced by the colonial masters but we have to change that. We should wean ourselves of the spirit of being the only ones who have done something at the expense of having more people trained in that particular field. Who told you that only a person with 15 points at Advanced Level makes a good doctor? This criterion should be scrutinised. I like the Midlands State University motto which says, our minds, hands and destiny as we have to produce something tangible, as universities,” he added.