Petros Zivengwa – Lifestyle Correspondent
Magunje, in Hurungwe, is an agro-based area and education has not been a priority to most families. The area has gained dubious fame as a corner of Zimbabwe where they can boast of having high numbers of child marriages, drug abuse and shortage of schools.Its current parliamentary representative Dr Godfrey Gandawa says he is on a mission to see his people get good infrastructure and tertiary education.
“My aim is to create an environment that provides vital services, fuel social and cultural innovation and above all my work should be critical in reaching shared civic goals and creating a better Zimbabwe and a better Magunje,” said Dr Gandawa at a recent function in the area.
Dr Gandawa is also the deputy minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. So it is not surprising that a tertiary institution for his area features prominently in his ambitions.
“A university in Magunje will offer Science and Technology courses which are competitive globally, l am seeing all Zimbabweans benefiting from the research centre and the university to be established in my community,” said Dr Gandawa.
The university is expected to be the hub of natural and applied sciences whose output will greatly contribute to economic growth and creation of science-based knowledge skills and values.
“There are no science subjects being done in my constituency except Maths and Integrated Science because schools have no science labs. Zimbabwe School Examination Council report for 2015 also shows that there is low uptake of science subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Biology nationwide,” commented Dr Gandawa.
He especially feels the pain when his own ministry is spearheading a Government initiative to promote those subjects in schools.
“We have a scenario where there is low uptake of science subjects at Ordinary and Advanced Levels and again our universities are flooded with commerce and arts students who in actual fact cannot resuscitate industrial growth,” said Dr Gandawa.
“The country needs a workforce that can add value to our resources, a human capital equipped in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We need innovative and creative students to revamp our industries and at best produce goods which can compete on the global market,” explained Dr Gandawa
Stressing that it was the reason why his ministry embarked on promoting science subjects at both Ordinary and Advanced Level examination classes in a bid to increase the number of students with science-based knowledge and values in the country.
Dr Gandawa said it was within this backdrop that he acquired land for a university and research centre in his constituency in order to equip learners with science skills which he said had the potential to guarantee economic growth in the country.
“Zimbabwe needs students equipped in sciences so that we boost our industrial growth. The country is rich in raw materials and we can only add value to such resources if we have human capital that can process the raw materials into finished products,” said Dr Gandawa.
Hurungwe District Education Officer Mr Dzveta hailed Dr Gandawa’s efforts in supporting education in the district.
“All Schools in the district have received assistance from Dr Gandawa and the university he is yet to build will benefit not only our children in Magunje but Zimbabweans at large,” said Mr Dzveta.
Mr Dzveta said the shortage of science laboratories was hindering the uptake of sciences in schools.
Headmasters’ representative in Magunje Makono Zvavanoda confirmed that applied and natural sciences are not being taught in their schools owing to shortage laboratories as they require a lot of experiments and observations.
“Our education is going to another level. The Minister (Dr Gandawa) is helping us a lot and we will benefit a lot from the university and the research centre. Learning has to be a continuous process therefore research is key in the academic fraternity,” he said.
Recently President Mugabe said there was need to equip learners with knowledge skills and values that guarantee economic growth and increased opportunities for employment creation.
Zimbabwe has invested so much in tertiary education and in 2014 and 2015 alone all universities produced more than 36 000 graduates.
And it is an open secret that Zimbabwe is among the African countries with a record of producing thousands of university graduates every year who, after completion of their studies will not secure employment.
Dr Gandawa said employment was not only a problem in Zimbabwe alone but a global problem, but Government was working tirelessly to address the problem.
“The Government has embarked on a number of initiatives to arrest the problem. All polytechnics and some universities have already started teaching entrepreneurship in all their programmes,” said Dr Gandawa.
He said while Government was working to revive industries, there was need to train youth in entrepreneurship and income generating projects across the country to equip them with a business mind-set since small-scale to medium enterprises could also boost Zimbabwe’s economy.
“As a leader, I feel proud to have a version and inspiration and more so a clear understanding of the needs of the complex and diverse communities I serve. I must therefore be creative innovative, resourceful and resilient in providing quality services to the people during tough times,” said Dr Gandawa.
Dr Gandawa said he spends most of his time doing ministerial work and he visits his constituency almost every weekend, monitoring the projects he initiated for his constituency. He is building a hospital and several schools around the constituency.
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