Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Polytechnics should embark on a relentless drive for adoption, adaptation and import substitution of advanced technologies in line with the policy of developing and adopting scientific technologies that make Zimbabwe competitive in the 21st Century, a Cabinet Minister said.
In a speech read on his behalf by the director of Higher Education Programmes Mrs Martha Muguti – during the 30thh Gweru Polytechnic College graduation ceremony yesterday – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, urged the graduates to add value to economic development of the country.
He said as the economy moves into a higher state of development, the creation of knowledge and its transfer to industries becomes more important.
“Polytechnics should embark on a relentless drive for adoption, adaptation and import substitution of advanced technologies in line with the policy of developing and adopting scientific technologies that make Zimbabwe competitive in the 21st Century,” he said.
“I wish to exhort Polytechnics to collaborate through partnerships within universities and private research organisations on mutually beneficial projects focusing on reverse engineering or duplicative imitations, innovation and incubation to enable the country to catch up with the developed countries.”
He said the tertiary education should no longer be viewed as an end in itself but as a means or high road to industrialisation and modernisation.
Polytechnics – he said – should be positioned as natural strategic partners of industry through the development of robust programmes and cutting edge projects and innovations which unlock value in businesses and create wealth for the country.
Prof Murwira said a rich nexus ought to be created between Polytechnic education and the country’s industrial policy adding that the key factors in the success of industrial policies are coordination between Government agencies and cooperation between industry and academia.
“Government policies on education and training pursued in harmony with other economic and social policies help substantially in establishing and maintaining such dynamic processes.
‘‘In other words education and training policies should be closely coordinated with industrial policy,” he said.
Gweru Polytechnic College principal Mr Washington Chandiwana said of the 719 graduates who received certificates, Diplomas and Higher National Diplomas, 329 were male and 390 female.
He said from the Technical and Vocational Teacher Education Programme-16-graduates received their University of Zimbabwe Diplomas.
“The pass rate for HEXCO programmes for the period under review is 72percent, whilst that of Teacher Education Programme is 83percent. The overall pass rate is 72 percent,” he said.
“Gweru Polytechnics enrolment increased from 1727 in 2017 to 2322 in 2019 which is a 34 percent increase.
‘‘However there is need for additional lecturing staff, workshops, classrooms and funds for equipment and consumables,” he said.