George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Lecturers at State universities must have upgraded themselves to doctoral degrees by 2017 or risk losing their jobs as Government moves to improve the quality of learning at tertiary institutions.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said yesterday that an agreement has already been reached between Government and vice chancellors at State universities on the matter.
This means that from 2017, the minimum qualification for a university lecturer will be a PhD and those without have about 15 months to upgrade themselves.
The lecturers had an opportunity to upgrade themselves after State universities made a request to Government some years ago that only PhD holders be recruited for teaching.
Speaking during a familiarisation meeting with both academic and non-academic staff at Great Zimbabwe University on Monday evening, Prof Moyo also announced plans to encourage high learning standards at State universities.
He said a grading system would be introduced based on the number of things such as patents, copyrights and industrial designs.
Prof Moyo said local universities agreed that there be a minimum cap of qualifications for one to be a lecturer at a university.
“The decision (for lecturers to have a minimum qualification of a PhD) was not made by Government, but by the universities themselves,” he said.
“The majority of universities in our country recognise that the minimum qualification for a lecturer should be a PhD by 2017. It will be problematic if one is to be found without a PhD by 2017.
“We, however, cannot say it is a requirement for a lecturer to have a PhD by 2017, but it is an expectation, the decision to do that came from vice chancellors and universities have academic freedom, it was not a Government decision and there is room for more discussions about that.’’
Prof Moyo challenged local universities to prioritise research and help local institutions of higher learning to gain eminence on the list of top universities in Africa and the entire world.
“We will soon be carrying out assessments on our universities so that we grade them according to the number of their copyrights, industrial designs and patents that would be commercially exploited,’’ he said.
The grading of a university from first choice, second choice and so on will be determined by the number of commercially exploited patents, copyrights and industrial designs they made.
Prof Moyo said Zimbabwe was undergoing a radical transformation in its education system which sought to prioritise science and technology development to produce graduates able to make a positive contribution to the development of the economy.
He said while Zimbabwe was acclaimed globally as the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa, it was disappointing that the majority of students performed dismally at ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level.
Prof Moyo said Government wanted mathematics and science to be the bedrock of Zimbabwe’s education system starting from the Early Childhood Development stage.
“We want to correct mistakes that we made over the past 35 years, higher and tertiary education must intervene because our primary education has been good, but secondary education has been very bad because of low pass rates and last year we had only 2 500 students who passed mathematics and science at ‘O’ in the entire country,” said Prof Moyo.
His ministry donated 100 computers to the GZU Mashava campus library and another 50 to the university’s Mucheke campus.
Prof Moyo, who was accompanied by directors from his ministry together with GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo, toured the university’s six campuses and heaped praise on the successful execution of the multi-campus system at the institution.