Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo jumped the gun in unilaterally taking charge of a programme that falls under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, it has emerged.
Prof Moyo announced two weeks ago that there will be free education for pupils who register for Science subjects at Advanced Level, with Government paying full tuition and boarding fees.
It emerged yesterday that the programme — ostensibly aimed at promoting the learning of Science technology, Engineering and Mathematics, popularly known as STEM — was done without consulting the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, which has a mandate over A-Level pupils.
Apparently, the responsible ministry is promoting the learning of Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics through its new school curriculum.
It also emerged that the pulling off of STEM adverts by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation last week was done following “repeated complaints by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education”.
This is contrary to assertions by Prof Moyo during an interview with The Standard that the adverts were pulled at the instigation of the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba.
Prof Moyo has been attacking Mr Charamba daily on his Twitter account since the Presidential spokesperson warned successionists against building messages around the First Family and denigrating people appointed by President Mugabe during the 2014 Zanu-PF National People’s Congress.
Even though Mr Charamba did not mention the names of the successionists, it was surprising that only Prof Moyo responded.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said her ministry had nothing to do with the STEM being promoted by Prof Moyo’s ministry.
She said their promotion of Science technology and Mathematics would be done in line with the dictates of the new school curricula being spearheaded by her ministry.
“No, we do not have anything to do with that programme. They are the best people to talk about that,” she said.
“As a Ministry, we have the new curricula which is emphasising any area in education including STEAM from ECD up to Form Six. We are implementing and rolling the curriculum in stages. This year, we are piloting the syllabus and in 2017, we will start. If we were involved, you should have seen it emanating from our office not from a ministry whose mandate is really not about Primary and Secondary Education. To us, it is not a question of publicity but transformation. We will share with them the curriculum because they are the consumers of our products. We will do ours with their cooperation.”
ZBC acting chief executive Mr Patrick Mavhura said he was surprised to read in The Standard that Mr Charamba had telephoned him to pull off the STEM adverts.
“That’s incorrect,” he said.
“I was not phoned by anyone but what happened was an issue of verification and we resolved to stop the adverts.”
Prof Moyo said all high schools that registered full lower six STEM classes this year would stand a chance to win a state-of-the-art bus and a cash prize of $100 000.
He said all lower six students in all high schools who register for STEM subjects in 2016 would stand a chance to win a trip of a life time to Microsoft and other Silicon Valley STEM companies in the United States of America (10 winners), or a state-of-the-art STEM laptop (100 winners), or a state-of-the-art iPad (100 winners).
Sources said it defied logic for Prof Moyo to “busy himself” with other Cabinet ministers’ ministries at a time he should be fighting to ensure university students on cadetship get paid.