Policy shift leaves thousands stranded

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa

Herald Reporter
Thousands of aspiring teachers who had secured places at various training colleges for next year’s intakes are likely to fall by the wayside after the colleges made a U-turn and added science among compulsory subjects. During interviews for 2015 intakes, colleges had Mathematics and English as prerequisites, but it has emerged that the University of Zimbabwe department of teacher education, with the approval of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher education (zimche), instructed colleges to make science compulsory.

zimche is mandated with evaluating and assessing higher education programmes to ensure they meet the country’s training needs while maintaining world class standards.

Some colleges have reportedly started advising students who had secured places of the latest development.
By late yesterday several colleges had sent messages to the students some of whom were shocked with the development.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa confirmed that at policy level they were working on including science as one of the compulsory subjects.

However, he said extensive consultations were still being done as a lot of students would be affected by the policy shift.
“We are still in consultation with the Department of Teacher Education about that issue because it affects lots of people,” he said.

College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr David Dzatsunga, confirmed that colleges had started advising students on the latest move, with others urging those effected to enrol for bridging programmes.

He said while they supported the need to churn out more teachers with scientific knowledge, the U-turn by the colleges had been drastic.
“Most colleges have received that directive,” Mr Dzatsunga said.

“A number of them (colleges) had done their interviews for the January intake but are now informing those who had secured places that the position has changed.”

He added: “For our education to be of great quality, science needS particular focus. We lost a lot of teachers during the time our economy was in tatters and it is high time we start training students with science to develop our country.”

Mr Dzatsunga said enough ground work needed to be done before implementing the policy.
“While we support the idea of having science as a compulsory subject, the policy is being implemented drastically,” he said.
“They have to ensure there is enough infrastructure and equipment to train those people because at the end of the day the policy might fail to be effective because of the way it is implemented.”

Chairperson of the department of teaching at UZ, Dr Attwel Mamvuto, said while he was aware of the circular they sent to colleges, he could not comment without approval from the University Registrar who was said to be out office.

Colleges have been churning out a few science teachers with most of them leaving the country after graduating.
The situation has been compounded by the shortage of funds for teacher training institutions specialising in the discipline such as Hillside and Mutare Teachers Colleges.

The uptake of sciences in schools has been low, particularly among the girl child and efforts are being made to encourage students to take up the subjects and curb the belief that sciences are a preserve for male students and only the intellectually gifted.

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  • truth0001

    the students need to take the government to court! you dont just take away an offer when it has been accepted ie basic contract law. They the students must be paid damages if govt goes ahead with disandantaging these students.

    number two, the reasons for changing junxtaposed with timing, are not likely to stand in court as well thought

    • Judas Iscariot

      Obviously you don,t live in Zimbabwe truth0001,taking govt to court is a waste of time,this regime has too much influence on the judiciary system.Their best bet will be to appeal to the president. I don,t understand why a shona teacher or history teacher needs science or english.This is colonial mentality at its best If you go to colleges in Italy,Spain,Germany or France or members of the EU you are not forced to have english to go to college.How do we call ourselves a sovereign country when we believe English is more important than our own local languages?Nxaa

    • Hacha Ndizvo

      You are spot on. Some of these successful students might have passed on other opportunities after securing places at the colleges. I have a daughter who had secured a vacancy to train as a Police Office but she decided not to go after she got a place at Seke Teacher’s College. If she did not have Science she would have been stranded now and in that situation I would definitely have sued.
      On another matter why does a Shona or Ndebele Language teacher need to have a pass in Maths, English and Science? Please give me cogent reasons not the superficial mumbo jumbo.

    • Grace Jones

      Govt has nothing to do with this. The university is the certificating body. Suing govt for your lack of qualification? They cannot force the university to take them without qualifying. What matters here is whether the decsion was made and communicated in time to colleges or govt. Not what each individuals college inefficiency in recruiting did. Those better qualified can also sue. Also all offers are conditional. I am very much against putting a dumb teacher in front of kids when there are better able candidates. Some of these teacher candidates know less than their students.That is not right. Protect the kids.

    • mpengo

      Very thoughtless and cruel Government!

      What will it take to make decisions WITH PEOPLE IN MIND?!!!

    • mpengo

      Being a new Minister does not mean people before you had not thought about what you are doing now. You are hurting livelihoods and futures at your whim

    • Vakai

      I appeal to the Office of the President to do something. we are being robbed because of spur of the moment decisions. It is discriminatory and old fashioned.As long as one has sufficient analytical skill(Maths), understands the language of instruction & communication (English) and has a good pass in the subject they want to teach,they should not be expelled from the profession. Bad performance is because of many good teachers having resigned or left, the relaxation of admission during the massive recruitment of “youth service cadres” and loss of discipline suffered by all professions due to the economy.

      Help vaGushungu. You are a teacher. Please stand with us

    • Chadnofsky

      Point of correction-when the institution advertise vacancies, they invite you to offer. The candidates then offer and the institution accepts, not the other way round. I agree with you, basic contract principles: you can not change the terms when you have accepted the offer without legal consequences.
      However, we lack resources not to mention the knowledge to take the matters to the courts. Lets hope that against all odds they wont be the pioneers to taste the prescription from people who do not adequately assess the impact of their decisions. *really hard to lose an opportunity when life is so hard

  • MweniTafara

    How do you pass maths with vectors and matrices while failing photosynthesis and septic tanks?

    English though is not necessary, just any language IsiNdebele or Vanhu plus Science and Maths is better.

    • Mfundo

      Rubbish! How many serious scientific papers and theories are NOT published in English?

    • Chibwa2014

      Maths,Science and any other language must be compulsory —–not English only…. I support the move it’s spot on.However I feel the government must rope in all stakeholders to appraise them on the new development and put an achievable timeline to it.

  • Dhunanga

    Politicians should be advised accordingly because such haphazard management is uncalled for if we are to respect the people in an independent state where changes should be by agreement and well timed. This is trial and error changed to error before trial by some overzealous individuals whose intention is just to be felt. People recognise with much respect your presents in those public offices but if you choose to be hard on them, they will equally turn to be difficult on on you.

    Imagine a good number of parents working hard alongside their children, encouraging them correctly to take English and mathematics serious as the required subjects for the good and long four years, then after completion of the four-year secondary education course someone just wake up to announce such a drastic and negative turn around ruining all those lives! This should not be taken as gambling, mind you, it’s life. I have not seen or heard of this or anything alike for the 60 years that I have been on this planet, and it remains a mystery….you can go ahead and poke people further they will show you that the only difference between you and them is that you act cruelly and they react in a much bitter but similar way.

  • candid

    `There is a leadership crisis in our education. How can leaders work up and change the goal posts in the middle of a game. Surely you can admit the current applicants and implement the good policy next year.The policy is spot on. But it looks like bofu ranhonga roro. What’s the hurry.

  • Tichaona

    Its unfortunate that we make unnecessary demands on our population. What does the government intend to achieve by making science compulsory for one who is to be trained to be a history, shona, RE, English language teacher. This doesn’t make any sense its like colonial screening which was meaningless and irrelevant to the Zim needs. Science must only be compulsory to those who are to pursue science related subjects. kungoomesera vanhu. Some of these policy makers do not even have these subjects in their several O level certificates.

    • Winds of Change

      Pass your science full stop

  • mpolastic

    The uptake of sciences in schools has been low, particularly among the
    girl child and efforts are being made to encourage students to take up
    the subjects and curb the belief that sciences are a preserve for male
    students and only the intellectually gifted.

    So now how is having a teacher of English, history, economics, etc have science at ‘O’ level going to help students with increase in uptake of science. For primary school teachers may be, but for secondary school teachers who spacialise in subjects that absolutely have nothing to do with science is nonsensical.

    We have seen in other countries where teachers even at primary school level specialise in subjects.

    • Grace Jones

      For seondary schools it is time we do away comletely with the none graduate teacher. We have enough university graduates. Ontop of that demand basic skills vis maths english and science. This is the world standard my friend. There is this fallacy that practical subjects cannot be done at university. Thats a lie. Zvokuda to justify people with only O Level bible shona commerce english and agriculture standing in front of kids pretending to know something in high school must stop. They do not have adequate general education!

    • Winds of Change

      Wait and see science teachers vachati chakata because right now people want to teach science subjects nokuti vane Maths chete. Izvi ndozvatirikuramba pasa science chete woticha

  • mutiro

    if some one wants to teach shona at secondary school , what does he need science and maths for , you are not being realistic , i think maths and science should be compulsory for primary school teachers and those who want to teach sciences and commecials. everyone shud get a chance in his area of specialization. Do you even care to consult the people when you do your so-called policy shifts

  • Abel

    I think we have one of the most policy inconsistent governments on this planet. Ko kungoti gagaga sevarume and we move on. Zvinotishayisa mikana yakawanda zvekungoita sarwaivhi.

  • melon

    lam of the opinion that they should be enrolled taking into account that if you were to look at this properly mathematics also doubles up as a science subject. someone with mathematics can teach science without problem. or maybe you can test them in science if they make it then you take them. But from the look of things these students should be accepted they can be teachers

    • Winds of Change

      Let them pass their science and be admitted

  • njm

    i feel they used offer students without science a bridging course not just to throw them out

  • Mubereki

    Government policy shift most welcome. Infact it was long overdue. How do you expect a someone to teach our kids a subject like Content/General Paper when s/he has failed O Level Science. For those not in the picture, the primary school syllabus has significantly changed from the times that we went to school with kids having to master a number of scientific principles at an elementary stage as well as writing english and shona short compositions. If Grade 7 and Form 4 pass rates are to improve in the country this policy has to be pursued aggressively. Parents with primary school going children should be happy with this development.

    • Popiro

      i agree

    • Winds of Change

      Correct Mubereki. Spot on.

    • rukudzo

      Start January 2015.

  • Tinotenda Mabwe

    *** and this gatawa guy are just made mhani

    • canmore sibanda

      canmore chinhamo
      this is tantamount to bottle necking that has been happening during the smith regime.it’s a way of screening out those ineed because the government is failing to accommodate potential and aspiring personalities who have managed to excel over these years.F**** nonsense

  • rangwani

    Iiii vaGandawa why are you allowing naivity to ruin your reputation. One you are deputy Minister of higher education not the employing ministry which should specify the employee they require, two; you as a doctor you know very well research should be done before embarking on any curriculum change, three; the rural schools have no capacity to teach the so-called compulsory subjects, four do you think every child in Zimbabwe is good in English, Science and Mathemetics, if the entry requirements are so restrictive who will teach the other subjects,coz everyone will need to focus on these three to be able to train as a teacher, six; as government vamwe vose muchavaisa kupi????

  • Grace Jones

    These are O level graduates. The country has hundreds ofcthousands of qualified candidates with maths science and english who did not get places because of corruption. No suiing is necessary. How did those without science get a place ahead of those with science in the first place? What kind of criteria was used? This is the opportunity for those with passes but without chiwoko muhomwe to get in. Wait and see how many will be taken to court for unrefunded chiwoko muhomwe. Those making noises are trying to defend mari dzavakatora

  • Grace Jones

    The country has several hundreds of thousands with maths science and english who were not offered places because they have no chiwoko muhomwe. How did those without science get places ahead of the better qualified? Implement this policy and see how big chiwoko muhomwe is as people come forward claiming their unrefunded chiwoko muhomwe. I welcome this policy. The poor qualified candidate will get a chance to get in pasina chiwoko muhomwe. Those who want to sue suing govt for what? Govt does not certificate teachers it is the university and it sets the standard not govt. Govt can train them but if the university has set its standard they will not be certificated. Meanig three wasted years. While the idea of a bridging course is a noble one when there are no qualified candidates out there. It is govt unnecessary expense when qualified candidates are available and have been denied places. Also there is no guarantee that these candidates will pass science by date of certification . It also assumes what the classes they are to take do not need science as a prerequisite. That is dangerous territory. Opens students to a thigh for a grade.

  • rudo500

    ZIMCHE must with immediate effect attend to Africa University problem. There are academic fraudsters at the institution of higher learning. A student was supposed to graduate in June without attending lectures. this started after the coming in of the DVC who on the first day up to now had two meetings with international staff without Zimbabweans. The other person who should be investigated is the immigration officer who issues work permits. There are under-qualified staff members with fake degrees, the Registrar and Librarian. The later don’t have even a fake first degree. what is going on? There are Zimbabweans who are not working with genuine minimum qualifications who are denied jobs by the system at Africa University. Africa University needs War veterans and youth to address the academic fraud brought the new staff members who are spies of the Americans. Two senior staff members were caught at the gate doing sex. The case was swept under the carpet but of recent students were brought before the disciplinary committee and suspended. These are deans and the questions to parents is how safe are your sons and daughters and Africa University? The case must be investigated and the culprits be suspended. Parents should request to VC to investigate the case.

  • Samas

    Ko asi Science yacho inoda foreign currency kuiita here. We cant have teachers who does not know even what the force of gravity mean. Let them supplement the Science subject through our colleges so that we make money.

  • Tora Gidi

    Students can not be affected by a policy that came after they had secured places. In fact, they should not permit their rights to be taken away. However, with a repressive system in place, their rights are not guaranteed to begin with.

  • Winds of Change

    Our children are failing because the teachers do not science background. I like this shift and am very happy. Magona va Dokora apa zvinotendwa do not look back .This is a noble idea which progressive minds should empress. Those with no science they should start reading now and sit next June 2015. science is an easy subject vakomana. We now want shona and ndebele to be compulsory nyika ifambe vakomana nevasikana.

  • rukudzo

    But you can let them train and then say you will only graduate upon submitting a pass certificate for a science subject. People should be given a second chance.

  • simba

    pane vaiwana nzvimbo vasina science isu tinadzo tichishaya, zvinombofamba sei? regai tichipinda isu on merit