Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s passion for education as a springboard for development came out yesterday when she attended Prince Edward School’s 120th anniversary celebrations and also toured an innovation hub being constructed at Tichakunda Primary School in Hatcliffe, Harare.
This dovetails with her role as the Mother of the Nation who is deeply concerned with the provision of decent and quality education to the citizenry.
Amai Mnangagwa’s children passed through Prince Edward School and as a former parent, she said she was still grateful for the way the school groomed them.
The school’s 120th anniversary celebrations coincided with its speech and prize-giving day where excelling pupils were rewarded with prizes, which were handed over by the First Lady.
Since its establishment in 1898, Amai Mnangagwa said Prince Edward School had enrolled students from diverse backgrounds, earning itself an envious position as the leading school in academic, sport and cultural activities.
“The school’s O-Level results were 28,57 percent in 2018, an improvement of 4,37 percent and A-Level results were 74,4 percent, an improvement of 11,9 percent. There is room to post even better results. The thrust by Government is to ensure the curriculum offered in schools speaks to the needs of industry and society,” she said.
The creation of an upper middle income economy by 2030, the First Lady emphasised, could only be realised if the curriculum spoke to national aspirations.
She said she was impressed by the number of technical and vocational subjects offered by the school as well as achievements in sport.
“Personally, I am impressed by your performance in sport. I was made to understand that you attained the following positions — National Champions Under-20 basketball 2019, National Champions Under-20 Volleyball 2019, National Champions Under-20 Athletics 2019, National Champions Under-15 Copa Coca- Cola Soccer 2019, National Champions Under-17 Soccer 2019 and National Champions Rugby 2019.
“This tremendous achievement speaks volumes of how the school takes sport. Government takes sport not as a part-time (activity) but wishes to transform sport into a billion-dollar industry.”
Sportsmen like Tinotenda Kadewere, Tatenda Mukuruva and Tonderayi Chavhanga and Tonderai Ndiraya passed through Prince Edward School.
The First Lady further said she was impressed by the emphasis placed on cultural activities by the school.
“The school harvested 52 honours during the past National Institute of Allied Arts competitions. The Prince Edward School Jazz Band still remains the leading school jazz outfit which competes favourably with experienced outfits. The late Sam Mtukudzi is a good example of your marvellous products.”
The First Lady paid tribute to teachers who remained loyal and dedicated to their trade, saying all the successes being scored by the school were borne out of their hard work.
She implored leaners at Prince Edward to shun drug and alcohol abuse saying they were the future leaders.
The school’s headmaster, Dr Aggrippa Sora, thanked the First Lady for accepting their invitation as their guest of honour at the celebrations.
“Amai, we appreciate the good work you are doing for the people of Zimbabwe especially in assisting the vulnerable communities and empowering the youths. We are truly grateful to your company today,” he said.
Acting Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mr Peter Muzavazi attended the event.
From Prince Edward School, the First Lady proceeded to Tichakunda Primary School in Hatcliffe, where she mingled with the pupils before touring the innovation hub which is under construction.
She was accompanied by Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana and ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
The construction of the information and communication technology (ICT) hub was as a result of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Angel of Hope Foundation and Matter Foundation, an organisation which is based in the United States of America.
Amai Mnangagwa said the construction of the hub was the fulfilment of a pledge made as part of a three-year MOU signed by the two organisations.
Matter works in more than 50 countries across the world offering assistance in the areas of education, health and agriculture.
The foundation undertook to deliver high-tech innovation hubs to primary schools in Zimbabwe and this was one of the initiatives by Angel of Hope to afford children exposure to modern ICT-based education.
Victoria Falls-based foundation Love for Africa is also a partner overseeing the logistics for shipment of equipment.
“The construction of an innovation hub here at Tichakunda Primary School becomes the second in Zimbabwe and also in Africa after having commissioned the first hub at Victoria Falls Primary School a few months ago. We selected this site for construction after due consultations with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,” the First Lady said.
“The children attending this school are mostly orphans and under-privileged children who are undoubtedly worthy recipients of the facility.”
On completion, the First Lady said, the hub will be equipped with an array of Apple products which include iPads, Apple MacBook laptop and desktop computers, along with other modern gadgets.
The facility will be powered by high- speed Internet and manned by Apple-certified facilitators.
This will enable children in Hatcliff e and surrounding areas to learn basic computer skills which include coding and various other skills.
Love for Africa representative Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa said the First Lady, through her foundation, was spearheading the vision of bringing better livelihoods to marginalised women and children.