‘We have nothing to do with STEM’

Dr Utete-Masango

Dr Utete-Masango

Herald Reporter
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.

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  • patriot263

    especially the issue of Cardetship , the government has indeed shown some hatred over its own!

  • Prof of Science

    The problem with this minister Prof Moyo is that he seems all the time to be not clear on what his mandate is. Whilst the teaching of science and mathematics is important clearly there is need for planning, serious planning on the whole curriculum from ECD. You cant just wake up to introduce stem at A level without having introduced certain basics at lower levels. STEM courses also require lots of resources and its not clear yet where those resources would be coming from. Does the government have the necessary resources to embark on such a massively expensive exercise? …and most importantly did the minister consult widely as is always the case when such huge shifts in curricula are required. It is clearly very poor administration for a minister to simply wake up and announce such a major shift without preparing the students for it. The result of such decisions unfortunately is that students get poor training and the nation suffers in the long term as a result of such poor decisions.

  • Morris Hove

    This is very sad. If what Sylvia is saying is the official position then Govt is out of touch with reality. The STEM campaign is single most refreshing thing in the area of education since the production of the Nziramasanga Commission report. The Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education has been blundering for years without end and this their latest position simply confirms their lack of foresight. Nxaa.

  • kutototo

    At this rate, chances of creating 2.1 million jobs are getting closer to 0.000001%

  • ThaDoggPound

    That can only lead you to one logical conclusion: That those two ministries dealing with Education ought to be combined. We have two many ministries some with them with duplicating functions, for a poor developing country.

    • Observer

      See you don’t understand how things work. The two ministries cannot be combined. The result of combining will be an undeserved Tertiary education sector or Primary and Secondary education sector. There is a lot to be done in both sectors. For tertiary we are creating industry leaders people who match global standards … for primary we are preparing young people for tertiary … Now there are a lot of organizational structures that need to be put in place … we cannot burden one minister with two . The Tertiary Education office should focus on putting Zimbabwe’s university graduates at the same level as any other graduate internationally, so that we grow from a literate nation to an intellectual nation … leading in industry and innovation … to achieve that alone is a great milestone … if you burden Moyo with the two he will end up … losing the pot focusing on one area which is gaining popularity … since he likes the buzz … he should focus on RESULTS.

      • ThaDoggPound

        I might know how things work,as you claim, but you have equally not said anything of substance here. What is an “undeserved tertiary education sector”?

  • G Tichatonga

    Mr Editor, perhaps your attempt to distance yourself from this saga the other day was premature. The Herald is very much part of the problem. Why did you not call Prof Moyo for his response on this? Why did you interview a Permanent Secretary instead of Dokora? If the Perm Secretary was easily available and the Min was not, why then did you not interview the Perm Sec responsible in Prof Moyo’s ministry? The mere fact that your report comes from a faceless Herald Reporter is enough evidence of the “cloak and dagger” approach. The STEM programme is a brilliant idea and if Prof Moyo did not consult his colleagues as alleged, then the correct thing would have been for their boss to call them in to discuss the sticky points. Destroying a good thing simply because you were not consulted is absolutely naïve.

    • maita

      Moyo is Minister of Tertiary Education not Primary and Secondary Education so STEM should have been led by the relevant Ministry.

      • Strategic

        Where do they go after your primary and secondary??

        • JSC

          Then, by the same logic, every program needs to be under Ministry of Home Affairs that deals with deaths, because everyone “goes there” in the end.

          • tigere obama

            eheka ndokune registry yese but it does not mean you cannot combine the said two ministries nor coordinate their initiatives;why put boundaries to such pragmatic initiatives.Prof Moyo is a controversial person but lets not attack the person lets look at the initiative.

          • Biggie Taapatsi

            kikikikiki… LOL… pidigu dhii nekuseka! Gore rino, haiwa!

      • Fidelis Mhaka

        If Moyo does not spearhead the STEM programme and supposedly Dokora and his Perm Secretary produces high school graduates with mainly arts subjects, how will the Ministry of Higher Education promotes science, technology and engineering graduates???

      • G Tichatonga

        The questions I continue to ask are these: Why stop a good project simply because it is being done by the wrong Ministry (assuming the allegation is fact)? Is it not better to transfer this to the “correct Ministry” or better still, ask the two Ministers to collaborate more? We members of the public do not care how Government is structured – all we want is a Minister who does the right thing – AND NOW! The Perm Secretary talks of 2017 – hey wake up – a whole lower sixth stream would have been lost in the cracks!

        • Zimba 1

          Spot on, GT. Zimbabweans have been too politisised. We should look at the deed not the doer. Here Moyo is trying to prepare the nation to be technologically competent. Lawyer, Historians and worst Social Scientists will never innovate; it is scientists, engineers, technicians, mathematicians and medical professions who can help turn our fortunes.

          We do not need to look further; look at how the economist cum lawyer cum teacher has ruined our nation.

        • s shumba

          no! the proff jumped the gun in that it is not his ministry and the GOZ has no money yet to fund such a program. if it was just proff promoting STEM without promising “free” education and buses and goodies, then it would have been fine.
          Is this clear now where some of us are coming from

          • G Tichatonga

            What do you say now that Prof Moyo has produced evidence showing that the other Ministry agreed to the campaign? It is indeed clear that you are coming from the dark.

      • yowe

        It has to be top down from tertiary to high school! The claim that they were consulted is nonsense. These people are seeing that Moyo’s future in Zanu is now tricky and they want to align themselves to the seemingly more powerful faction. But at what cost??? Thousands of young people have had their futures destroyed again. Zanu is pathetic!!!

    • babatwo

      I totally agree with you Tichatonga. What is wrong in encouraging students to do sciences and paying for their fees( that if the money is there)? We want this and the ministry of primary and secondary education should tell us what they are doing that is similar to this program to help the nation. We are sick and tired of this fighting for the sake of it.

    • jojo

      Taura hako! Political fights being allowed to kill a brilliant idea! Slowly beginning to feel like a tribal vendetta! In a normal world we would know the professor’s side of the story!

    • gutu chitovah

      why not reshufling the two. Prof JN Moyo for primary and secondary coz he seem to have theproper vision so it will start from grassroots, then dokora for tertiary

  • Afrikan

    ZBC CEO said only an issue of verification occurred. What is this issue of verification?

  • Francis Chibwe Godo

    STEM is a great initiative whether the idea is from ministry of mines it doesnt really matter. in the first place why do we have two ministries for education. One education minister is enough. The raw materials for tertiary education is high school graduates, so you cant separate the two.

  • Son of the soil

    I think this factionalism is getting too far. This STEM initiative is a good thing, we must stop mixing the party and government. If the ministry had a problem i am sure they are channels rather trying to stop a good initiative. We are tired of this factionalism its taking the country further down.

  • rangwani

    This issue is not about the curriculum, its about promoting Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics as viable subjects that students should take up at A level. The ministry of primary and secondary education’s curriculum reform efforts will not in any way be jeorpadised by this initiative. If their curriculum becomes effective enough in the next 10-20 years then this initiative can be stopped. I say 10-20 years because consevatively thats when we hope to see the benefits of their curriculum reform. Obviously the professor saw wisdom in adopting this short to medium term intervention in manpower resource development than our learned colleagues in the other ministry who rightly should focus on revamping the curriculum. I wish to remind them that the curriculum is such a wide phenomenon (for lack of a better word) than STEM and for them to sit back and say the revamped curriculum will immediately address the manpower challenges we face is a bit naive

    • robzam

      Whilst the nobility of STEM cannot be doubted, I can understand the arguments for a curriculum based approach. For this program to be effective interested and potential students should be identified right from the first year of secondary school and natured all the way to A level. This idea of trying to intervene after four years of secondary education will produce half baked students who are more motivated by the promised incentives than the benefits intended. If you pick up the child from the first year of high school, you are able to break the idea or general fear of science subjects. The curriculum approach helps to bridge the gap between educators, tertiary institutions and industry. Let these children go for early industrial attachments for them to appreciate the practical application of their science studies.

      • tigere obama

        chero vakasaita excel at A level vanongoita maartisans which is also engineering.

        • robzam

          Does that make sense that you send children to A level for them to do an apprenticeship at the end of the day. What we are looking for are proper engineers, the ones that can excel in research and development, design and manufacturing.

  • Observer

    The Moyo wants to be popular , his ministry has failed a lot. Last year they introduced a fund for developing technology ideas which never saw the light. Perhaps he used that for holiday. They wasted corporates’ time and peoples’ time making submission to no avail. This Moyo should be serious. Technology funds if administered well propel innovation … why is he concerning himself with mattes to do with Primary and Secondary is he done preparing graduates to be relevant in industry … He is losing focus and should be removed and we have a more focused Person. He likes tweeting a lot … he should become the government’s social network administrator.

    • Zimba 1

      I think you are wrong there. Moyo love or loathe him the guy has the energy to make things happen. Let me remind you that this is the same guy who ‘birthed’ the urban grovers diring his time as Minister of information in the 2000s.

      The real problem, you and I both know him–Mugabe. All these issues are the * fault.

      Moyo is among the few who have seen the light in Zanu. I wish he were the Minister of Lands, for surely this perenial landreform would have long ended, and farms would now be producing.

    • yowe

      For your own information the progression of a student is from primary then secondary then tertiary! How can he encourage science subjects at Tertiary level when there are no qualified students from downstream??? Kufunga hakufanirwi kurwadza

      • Muzivi

        Iwe, where are the jobs after tertiary education? That’s what moyo should worry about instead of seeking cheap political mileage from another ministry’s programmes.

        • Hauzivi

          Iwe, using your logic, then ask the ministry responsible for Job Creation and not seek cheap political mileage from STEM!

        • tigere obama

          if we have more ideas from more STEM graduates the jobs will be created by them talk of indigenisation when we have got technically skilled people.India is now providing the IT expertise to the developed world because in the 60s they developed about 7 institutes of technology which developed technical people. in fact whether you are a history or divinity graduate in india you then are compelled to pursue some IT skill to get a chance in the job market.To this end most call centres in America are run from India via the under sea cable and so they don’t need to be in America to work for American companies.We need to be flexible in our entrance requirements to the EXTent of having bridging Maths programmes at COLLEGE OR uNIVERSITY level. This has been happening at Morgan Zintec,MSU.aT msu PEOPLE where enrolled with 1E and then bridge the other subject before proceeding to pursue the course of choice which might be the bridged one. Reason is this was happening in the sciences because there were not enough A Level graduates to utilise the facilities.So STEM IS OK.

  • B mak

    apa panyanyisa kuiswa mafeelings instead of objectivity!!

    • tigere obama

      wana wadiki dzinenge pwere

  • Mhofu

    I agree with you Tichatonga. I have checked again and noted that Prof Moyo (I am not his fan) is the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. I am not sure if the intention of the President when he appointed him in this Ministry was that he only oversees Science and Technology in institutions of higher learning. Nevertheless, its so strange that those in the other Ministry come out with guns blazing against an excellent government programme. Even if one was to accept that Prof Moyo’s mandate does not extend to Dofora’s Ministry, all I see is someone with a a long term vision for his Ministry. Catch them young they say. Alll what Prof Moyo has done is to encourage the study of STEM at university by encouraging young ones to do combinations which would qualify them for Science and Technology programmes at University.

    On another matter, I am surprised ZBC is quick to pull out adverts yet they want revenue. Apa other stations are running the adverts. And you have a whole CEO defending such a position. Sad indeed.

  • Chimoto

    Just fire Dokora leave Jonathan Moyo as the single minister of Education. Why create too many ministries in the first place muchirova cash.

  • Dr Kairos

    we always knew this STEM is another AIRPORT settlement demolition propaganda, come 2019, all students in the said STEM would be told to payback the money

    • Tengenenge

      They wont get the money in the first place. Where is the money? that is the real issue here. There is absolutely no need for the other wise noble STEM campaign to include false , impractical promises. It discredits and undermines the whole damn thing.

  • Strategic

    STEM AND STEAM, lets have both, what is the problem?

    • zvichanakachete

      ndoyazondipedza manje… Dokora’s ministry has STEAM all of a sudden..we have never head about it but coz they want to outdo Jonso’s STEM.. ndo kunonzi ku kopa ka uku… from the ministry of education…eish vana vanodzidziswa chii..

  • yowe

    STEM was a good idea. Now politics has entered into play and its young children who will suffer. Zanu is pathetic!!!

  • herbert phiri


  • yowe

    He consulted widely. Stop being political. When this government of yours introduced those National Service programs what was the benefit? STEM is a good idea other countries are doing it and have done it. This government has made many stupid decisions indigenization, land reform etc you cannot even equate how disastrous those were and are to STEM a programme that encourages education…..

    • gutu chitovah

      He didnt widely consult. There is a ministry specifically responsible for sec education, he should have tell them the product they expect and the ministry would have run on the ground. The programme is aimed at embracing all facets of the economy from science, technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics hence STEAM not STEM

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    While the STEM idea is a noble one, let us not pretend that it can easily be carried out cheaply and promptly without proper planning.

    • G Tichatonga

      Why do you assume that there was no proper planning? Where do you think Prof Moyo got the money to sponsor the prizes that are coming with that campaign? Is it possible that he would run such a project without informing any of his colleagues or the President?

      • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

        Yes it is possible especially if you are not involved in that Ministry’s budget. If the programme was from his Ministry, yes.

        • Zimba 1

          Not understanding your logic, here. You mean if you were a chicken farmer and were able to influence chicken-feed growers, you would just ignore it and saying it’s not in my purview? Would you not do what is best for you business: Influencing early love for stem, in this case?

          You see, the good thing about Moyo is he uses his brains–he ain’t a career politician. He doesn’t ask how high when asked to jump: he is sane enough to ask the hard questions; which is one quality that is in short supply in our body politic these days.

          A lot of idiots–on both sides of the political divide, unfortunately–do not even question, or attempt to check the sanity of their leaders’ action. They take what they are told as gospel, and look where it has led us: we now can’t even feed, clothe, provide jobs and other essential services to our people.

        • M Mawasa

          How do you get Treasury to fund unsanctioned projects?

    • Zimba 1

      This is what we call ‘hit the ground running’. Zim is like a war zone: no planning is required, because there is no time for that.

  • observer9

    Professor Moyo is very right. Hate him or love him, he is very effective in whatever he touches. The STEM programme is very interesting to both students and parents. Professor Moyo cannot sit back whilst he is getting A level graduates with almost irrelevant skills going into tertiary institutions. STEM is the way to go and for once we must all rally behind this initiative regardless of our political affiliation. I think the two ministries must be combined into one, and let the professor lead the combined ministry.

  • Kuta Kinte

    This is a very important programme but it has to be handled professionally. The scope of the programme calls for a good budget and plan. Knowing how intelligent the young sons and daughters of Zimbabwe are, a good plan and budget are required because most of them are going to qualify and the Ministry ends up not sponsoring which will obliterate the credibility of the Ministry.

  • Dr Gudo

    ndatove confused ini…

  • tawa

    Good initiative but correct me if wrong, gvt will pay tuition and boarding costs for those that decide to do sciences in public schools. That’s millions of dollars is the money there? i would rather have STEM sticking on incentives like the bus idea the US trip idea and the prize money $100 000 for students and schools respectively. This paying of fees will result in one thing and only one thing alone collapse of facilities at schools, How? that money is not going to be easily paid it may overlap terms as salaries does and for those schools to support the non paying students they will use money meant for other developments being paid by other students not on program. I remember my school days even a Trust with non government ties that used to pay for excelling science female students was delaying paying fees for the students for some reason. And looking at Gvt position now and the assumed targets well it’s just making the program popular but not sustaining as good as the idea is lets be realistic the crafting of it is not the best.

    • observer9

      There are no shortages of sponsors in education. what is only needed is the person of prof’s personality

  • Truth Hurts

    Just combine the 2 ministries into one so there is better cohesion

  • Zimba 1

    Editor/moderator, Why are you deleting my posts?

  • bodo_kwete

    A case of the right hand not wanting to know what the left hand is doing. Zanu iye ave mamvemve zvino.

  • mufungi

    Iwe, moyo must follow proper protocol???
    He should have liaised with the relevant ministry.
    Haugoni kungonobika pa next door just because you think you have a better recipe. Mari iyoyo ngaashandisa to promote all those that have degrees and are selling airtime

  • Tendai

    Its a pity the Herald is now being factional openly like the Daily News. Like others before me have said in this fora, the STEM initiative that is being sponsored by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education; Science and Technology Development (Min of HTE;STD) is the most novel from Government since the Zimbabwe-Cuba Science Teacher Program stopped. (People should not forget that this is not a policy move by the Min of HTE;STD but purely a sponsorship). I say so because of the following reasons:

    1) Less than 3000 students wrote three STEM subjects at O level nation wide. This number could be more is you say those with one-two subjects are STEM.
    2) Universities have been struggling to get adequate number of students with STEM subjects at A level. This affects the Min of HTE;STD than Dokora. And Minister Moyo’s intervention is timely. If you own a manufacturing company and you fail to source raw materials in Zimbabwe, you do not close shop, you import the raw materials even from outside. This exactly what the Min of HTE;STD is doing here. Its making sure if 2500 sat for STEM subjects, then a good chunk of them will pursue STEM at A level. Otherwise the same students will do Arts, Humanities and Commercial subjects. Min Moyo is using a dam scooper to scoop all STEM students and I commend him for that!! And its not interfering with another Ministry’s Mandate but complementing it.
    3) This move will excite both parents and school children to recommit themselves to STEM subjects from form one. I still wonder how the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Min of Pri & Sec Edu) intends to start SCIENCES from grade one when 99 % of the teachers at this level did not do REAL SCIENCES. Can it educate us on how it intends to implement this policy? This Ministry has been making hazy declarations from 2013.

    Having said the above, there are still challenges that the Min of HTE;STD has to attend to namely:
    a) Student grants, loans, cadetships or bursaries including the debts it owes to Universities.
    b) Resources especially lab and workshop equipment in Universities.
    c) Human resource development of lecturers in Universities, many of whom saved the face of the country’s HTE during the periods 2001 to 2010 when senior academics left the country for greener pastures.
    d) The STEM programme being advanced by the Min of HTE;STD is unsustainable in the long term. How does the Min of HTE;STD want to liaise with the Min of Pri & Sec Edu to have a more sustained STEM approach?

    • observer9

      That is a great contribution

  • Stem ndizvo naMoyo

    ummmm vakomana mazimbo.tozvidzikisira tega seiko.Prof Moyo is doing a good thing for once.ngatisarwadziwe nemunhu

  • Mai Fatso


  • Steam Stem

    But do we currently have a shortage of these graduates at the moment considering the numbers we are churning out of our provincial universities. Just asking.

  • M Hove

    We do not know how this contribution has been touted as Featured!!! The STEM problem required intervention at Lower Sixth level this Year!!! the ECD class is work for 16+ years later and so Dokora can wait that long to see whether his changes will be successful. Besides the STEM campaign is for a limited period. The Herald and all can continue their Prof Moyo hate campaign but given the overwhelming thumbs up the STEM thing is receiving, only a Govt that wants to lose power will destroy it.

    • Dzambirambi

      The issue is not whether STEM is good or bad, IT is the irrelevant
      Professor who thinks he is the Prime Minister and therefore can pronounce himself on anything and everything he thinks is popular.

  • s shumba

    which part of zim are u sitting. “hit the ground running” my foot. Is that his ministry. he must sort and fund the current STEM undergraduates if not all graduates because that is his mandate. not this

  • Biggie Taapatsi

    This splitting of hairs is totally uncalled for, honestly. Zanu-PF has always been at pains to explain that govt is there to implement the party’s policies and programmes. Prof Jonathan Moyo is the Secretary for Science and Technology in the Politburo. Does it not therefore follow that it is indeed his responsibility to formulate policy at party level, and then the relevant govt ministries should pick up the tab and implement. This clearly discounts the claim of STEM not being under Prof Moyo’s ministry, because it is.

    Apart from Prof Jonathan Moyo’s responsibility in Zanu-PF, he is currently presiding over universities, such as BUSE, NUST and CUT that are failing to fulfill their mandate because of the non-availability of the right numbers of students with STEM passes. The other day he was lambasting such universities for not living up to their mandates and I believe his current endeavor to promote STEM should be applauded as consistent with his govt mandate. Instead of complaining that they were not consulted, the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should instead be happy that adequate systems will be in place at tertiary level to absorb their STEM output in terms of their supposed curriculum review.

    On the question of funding for the promotion currently being run for STEM students, is there anything wrong in the minister sourcing funds outside treasury, in the short-term, for the exercise? Students need motivation to study STEM and this program is a perfect platform for that. With the current lack of fiscal space, if we are to wait till the funds are available, this program may never see the light of day.

  • Jones Musara

    taira hako

  • Jones Musara


  • ThaDoggPound

    Moyo courts controversy every time, everywhere. Perhaps that’s how he feels relevant.

  • Pound For Pound

    It is not necessarily a bad thing especially when you are right most of the time.