Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
Government will now recognise the Zimbabwe Open University Diploma in Education graduates as qualified teachers, a decision that brings relief to thousands who had been rendered jobless when the Civil Service Commission refused to employ them two years ago.
The CSC (formerly Public Service Commission) in 2012 raised concerns over the lack of robustness of the Diploma in Education (Primary) and Early Childhood course that was offered by ZOU resulting in the education ministry resolving to stop employing the graduates.
In a circular, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development permanent secretary Dr Washington Mbizvo said the latest decision to consider the graduates for employment came as a directive from the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda.
“The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet then ruled that these diplomas be recognised and the holders should be employed as qualified teachers,” read the circular.
“The same letter directed the ministry, Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education and ZOU to work closely to improve the content of the curriculum to remedy identified gaps for those to be trained in future.
“It pointed out that we cannot revoke degrees and diplomas already awarded.”
Dr Mbizvo said the ministry, ZIMCHE and ZOU met on May 20 and agreed to recognise the qualifications and to ensure the employment of the graduates as per directive.
He said the meeting observed that all future programmes would be thoroughly evaluated by ZIMCHE, to avoid the problems encountered before.
The diploma programme was launched in 2007 and benefited thousands of people, mostly temporary teachers who had failed to get training vacancies at conventional colleges.
The first group graduated in 2010. The graduates had tried to seek redress from the college but to no avail.
They even threatened to sue ZOU, but they finally decided to seek redress from the President Mugabe, the Chancellor for ZOU.
ZOU is an institution of higher learning offering open and distance learning and started off as the Centre for Distance Education under the University of Zimbabwe in 1993 before it became a fully-fledged university.