Prosperity hinges on STEM Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga with some of the Zimbabwean students studying in Kazan, Russia, on the sidelines of the ongoing Phygital Games of the Future Kazan 2024

Mukudzei Chingwere in KAZAN, Russia

Zimbabwe’s quest for a modern economy based on science and technology hinges on its capacity to use the expertise being amassed by students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programmes, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.

Speaking to Zimbabwean tertiary education students in Kazan, Russia, on the sidelines of the ongoing Phygital Games of the Future Kazan 2024 during an interactive engagement the Vice President took time off his busy schedule to also deliver goodies from home and pocket money for the students’ upkeep.

The VP unpacked the country’s economic development blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), for the students and pointed to them how human capital expertise in science and technology was expected to come in handy and drive the attainment of an empowered upper-middle income economy by 2030 as envisioned by President Mnangagwa.

It was against this background that the Government had modelled and introduced Education 5.0 model in a bid to promote a human capital base that answered to the needs of the country’s economic development plans. Having students receiving their education in modern, sophisticated and enduring economies like Russia augured well for the country.

“I am, therefore, happy that you are all studying science related programmes, which dovetail with Government’s policy thrust to anchor its growth trajectory on science, innovation and technology development,” said VP Chiwenga.

“This is aimed at accelerating the attainment of a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030.

“Government expects you to play an active role in its giant step to build a science and technology-based economy. You are privileged to have had this opportunity to study in one of the first world countries. They have better learning facilities and a vast industrial base which you should strive to emulate back home.

“I have the confidence that the skills, attitudes and competences you are gaining will be cross-pollinated with local expertise to create employment for our people and leapfrog our developmental agenda. You may recall that, during colonial Rhodesia, most of our people went to school to get employed. The mindset should change,” he said.

“We are our own masters who shape our country’s modernisation destiny and you are the people destined to start new enterprises and employ people. Therefore, you should embrace the new disciplines of artificial intelligence and robotics in order to keep abreast of the ever-changing technological environment,” said VP Chiwenga.

Some of the students in Kazan are studying general medicine, geospatial solutions, aircraft engines, pharmacy, and construction of unique buildings and structures.

The students assured VP Chiwenga that upon completion of their studies here they are eager to come home and contribute to the development of the country.

Mr Takudzwa Gumbo told the Vice President that he is working on research that will soon be published under African ethnomedicine and will zoom on Zumbani which was used by some in Zimbabwe to respond to the novel Covid-19 virus.

Third year pharmacy student Miss Dierdre Kunene thanked the Government for always giving the Zimbabwean students here a shoulder of support to lean on during their studies in a foreign land.

Mr Welcome Mandhlazi who is studying construction of unique buildings and structures said he is keenly following developments back home in the sort of infrastructure development as already seen in the construction and modernisation of the New Parliament Building and the Robert Mugabe International Airport, and cannot wait to join.

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