Dr Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu
President Mugabe, a renowned scholar in his own right, is a pacesetter in Zimbabwe’s educational development. After independence, the President encouraged the education expansion beyond the narrow underfunded African Education while European education was well funded 25 times to one for Africans.
The World Bank even advised against putting more funds to education instead of funding industry and other income-generating programmes to enable the Government to pay back the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme.
The expansion of the education system was for literacy and academic domain. In 1999, the President appointed the Dr Nziramasanga and Dr Malaba Commission to look into the transformation of the education system to integrate academic with vocational and technical skills.
- presented a paper in support of that approach. The Commission recommended the three pathways of the education system that is;
- Vocational and
- Technical; which use the psychomotor skills
The Commission also included the teaching of Ubuntu, Hunhu humanism. The President has, at the highest level of his office, appointed a Minister responsible for the implementation of the Psychomotor Skills Development in the education system. It is the duty of every citizen and scholars in cognitive-pedagogical affective domain and Psychomotor Skills teaching and Learning to support the proposed thrust of education. Some people have gone to ridicule the psychomotor skills department calling it a farce.
The new minister and responsible ministries need support not criticism. The teaching and training of psychomotor skills is critical to national human capacity building. It is important for the academics and trainees not to compartmentalise education and give the impression that one area is more important than another by giving the impression that academic underachievers are those that choose practical skills.
All learning is important in life. All learning and training start from one knowledge base the mind: Knowledge in the mind is the powerhouse of information which can be unleashed by the learning process cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain for practical and theoretical problem solutions.
Professor Robert Gagne refers to teaching and learning as a mental process which involves stimulus response activity. The stimulus is the advance organiser from the teacher which activates the mind about what needs to be cognised and learned or what the learner practical training for psychomotor.
David P. Krathwohl, Benjamin Bloom and Masica Betran B. in their Handbook II Deal with the taxonomy of educational objectives and their classification including the psychomotor domain. The psychomotor domain is important but relates and is enhanced by the other domains of learning.
This writer in 1974, presented a paper on “The Role of Educational Behavioural Objectives in Tension Control” dealing with psychomotor and the affective domain of learning in Chicago USA.
The paper was published by the International Council on Tension Control in 1974. The paper stressed the need for psychomotor training to reduce tension among the learners and to make training interesting. The psychomotor domain has various levels starting with the basics hands, legs and eyes in manipulative skills.
Sewing, knitting, dancing, soccer, karate, physical education training, gardening, and farming as part of the psychomotor domain. The mind conducts the voluntary muscles to act in a given manner to achieve required results. One best example of excellent psychomotor in sports is Peter Ndlovu, whose psychomotor made him dribble the ball systematically, passes attackers and calculates an angle with his mind and leg from himself to the goal and shoots it in at various degree angles while a goalkeeper flies in a different direction.
At higher professional levels medical doctors particularly at the practical gross anatomy use psychomotor skills to learn how to operate a body. In the Chemistry laboratory titrations and Physics lab calculations they use psychomotor skills. In Ophthalmology Drs like Solomon Guramatunhu use the psychomotor to examine and to operate eyes.
In Engineering Science and Technology and Mining they use psychomotor skills. The Small scale miners need psychomotor skills for digging and selecting the germs, alluvial gold, rough diamonds or pegmatite showing that they are nearer to emeralds deposits.
The other modern areas are the Information Communication Technology. This area of training is heavily psychomotor. The Presidential Schools Computerisation Programme needs trainers for trainees of psychomotor skills.
The ICDL, The Googling, Twitting, Facebook and WhatsApp activities on computers and cellphones are psychomotor activities. Some people cannot use their hands and fingers to type on a computer and computers are a decoration in some offices for lack of psychomotor skills.
In addition to psychomotor skills I urge that entrepreneurship should be part of the training. Trainees should be provided with financial support for self reliance income generating projects.
In conclusion, I would like to commend the President for establishing the Psychomotor Skills Department in his office. I would like to urge all stakeholders and specialists to support this effort and psychomotorise the national development to the greatest heights.
Dr Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu is Zanu-PF National Secretary for Education; Curriculum Design, Research and Evaluation; Specialist Founder Chief Executive Director of ZDECO Group of Colleges; Former Deputy Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education; and Former Minister of Media, Information and Publicity.