Ellen Chasokela Herald Reporter
Scores of students continue to benefit from the Presidential and National Scholarships programmes annually with 83 more leaving for Russia and Algeria to study sciences.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, who was representing President Mnangagwa, yesterday officiated at a send-off ceremony for 68 Algeria-bound students and 15 headed for Russia.
The students will be pursuing different science programmes including engineering, pharmacy, matter sciences and mathematics.
Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Murwira said the country was in dire need of transformation as it seeks increased capacity to produce its own goods and services.
“Our national strategic intent is what the nation wants to become and that is to be an upper middle income economy by 2030. To achieve that we have to develop a capability and it comes from learning from other nations.
“The education they get should not just be on certificates but it must be able to meet basic human needs which are water, food, health, communication and innovation, among others. Education must have purpose and benefits,” he said.
Skills, knowledge and consciousness would grow capacity for increased production especially in mining and manufacturing.
“These are the builders of our nation, hence it is our duty to support them,’’ he said.
The sending off of students to other nations showed that there was a warm and productive friendship with Russia and Algeria
Executive director of Presidential and National Scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Christopher Mushohwe said: “The focus is no longer on academic excellence but skills and manpower development.
“This is why we are sending off students to deal with issues like energy and engineering because we want Zimbabwe to be an upper middle income class by 2030.
“These are the people we are moulding to take up Zimbabwe on that journey. The exposure of sending off students is very important. The infusion of technologies that we do not have here yet is critical.”
Dr Mushohwe said the focus now was not to produce employees but employers and producers, making it critical for students to be sent abroad to acquire knowledge, expertise and technology.
Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Nacedine Sai said every year, Algiers provides over 1 000 scholarships to Africa.
“This year, Zimbabwe had 10 percent of those scholarships, indicating the strength of the two countries’ relations,” said Ambassador Sai.
One of the departing students, Tanaka Muradzikwa, hailed the Presidential Scholarship programme saying it gave them a chance to study abroad.