Embrace gender equality, training centres urged
Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has challenged industrial training institutions to embrace gender equity by enrolling more women to participate in engineering programmes at different colleges across the country.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony at St Peter’s Kubatana Technology Centre in Harare on Thursday, Prof Moyo bemoaned the lack of women’s participation in industrial and technical programmes.
This comes as Government is making strides in equipping persons with the right technological skills necessary to industrialise and develop the country.
“Your institution has over the years graduated some 5 504 artisans who are playing a pivotal role in the development of our country and among these it is a bit of a concern to note that 5 095 of them have been male and only 404 females,” he said.
“This is one of the things we need to work on and improve. One of the important features of our new constitution is gender equality, so I am encouraged by the fact that the acting principal is female and together we will work hard to increase the number of female students in industrial training colleges.”
Since 1980, the institution has produced 2 202 graduates in mechanical engineering, 2 092 automotive engineering, 826 in construction engineering, 165 in cosmetology, 165 in ICT and 54 graduates in clothing technology and interior décor.
“This not only reflects your achievements over the years since 1980, but the mandate and mission of not just the college, but a typical industrial training college,” Prof Moyo said.
“A typical graduate from an institution like this should be the pioneer in the new Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) economy that is developing in our country by promoting relevant industrial skills to meet the needs of the average consumer at places like Siyaso Home Industry in Mbare and other industrial organisations like Delta Corporation.”
Prof Moyo said promoting local content would help boost the country’s struggling industrial sector.
“Your skills should translate into employment creation and poverty eradication which are key policy objectives in our national blueprint Zim-Asset.
“Society can rely on local artisans to produce more affordable and quality machines for domestic and industrial services,” he said.
“With this, we enable the country to make savings of imports on the gross domestic product, which can then be used by our economy for other services. That is why we place premium value on your programmes here.”
Prof Moyo also urged school leavers to utilise programmes offered at industrial training colleges for personal and national development.
“At least a minimum of 300 000 students sit for ‘O’ Level examinations and not more than 30 000 go for ‘A’ Level and it’s only another 20 000 which goes on to enrol in tertiary education. However, the overwhelming majority (which is 70 percent on average) are school leavers who do not get the opportunity and will opt for industrial training colleges,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that all school leavers have the opportunity to acquire skills that make them useful citizens, as artisans and that responsibility will fall on the five industrial institutions across the country.”
Prof Moyo said there was a significant development in industrial training colleges which also came at a time when polytechnics are planning to change into degree offering institutions.
A total of 122 artisans graduated at the institution’s 35th graduation ceremony which was held under the theme: “Technical competence skills training for self sustenance and national development.”