Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Government has endorsed the transformation of polytechnic colleges into degree-offering institutions saying the move will promote entrepreneurship and revive industry.
Polytechnic colleges have been planning to transform into degree-offering institutions and critical preparations are at an advanced stage.
In an interview, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo said the transformation process was a welcome initiative in promoting STEM.
“We expect our poly to do something new by finding more creative ways of applying existing knowledge with respect to technological and engineering solutions and that is the kind of transformation they are working on,” he said.
“This is driven by themselves from their experience in response to community and societal developments and needs, it’s something they have been working on for the past two years and I will be surprised if they are not done by the start of the 2018 Academic year.”
Prof Moyo said a number of Polytechnics were well equipped for transformations and there was need to make sure that the launch of the programme is supported.
Harare Polytechnic principal Engineer Tafadzwa Mudondo said technical degrees will promote an economic turnaround for the country.
“People should understand one thing, we intend to offer technical and vocational education degree programmes which will not be in any way a duplicate or replicate of what is being offered at universities across the country,” he said.
“We want to continue in the discourse of where we specialise in skills acquisition giving the student required skills, technology, competencies and characteristics which will enable graduates to revive our industry and drive the industrialisation process in the country.”
Eng Mudondo said Polytechnics were not converting into universities as they will continue running the same technical programmes, but with a broader capacity and authority to award degrees.
“The current thrust of Harare Poly is we are looking at offering degrees in irrigation engineering which involves the design and manufacture of irrigation equipment which is relevant to Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We are also looking at the introduction of degrees in civil engineering, pharmacy technology, and mass communication to widen our technical base in regard to what we train.
“In terms of infrastructure, human resources capital in the areas indicated we meet the basic minimum requirements to kick start the degree programmes and we are ready.”
Polytechnic institutions have been supporting the country’s tertiary education system with over 70 000 graduates churned out to revive the country’s industries.