Renewed efforts to set up colleges in remote areas

01 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Renewed efforts to set up colleges in remote areas Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira

The Herald

Nqobile Tshili-Bulawayo Bureau

BINGA and Plumtree are being used to launch Government’s renewed drive to establish industrial training colleges in previously marginalised communities across the country in line with the drive to promote rural industrialisation.

Spreading industrialisation and the necessary training buttresses devolution whose thrust is to leave no place and no one behind. The Government has already called for enrolment for the Binga Polytechnic, which will open by offering training in commerce, automotive, construction, electrical, school of hospitality and tourism, and mechanical and applied sciences.

While details of the needed buildings and facilities are being worked on, Binga Polytechnic will be incubated at Bulawayo Polytechnic allowing enrolment to start this year with applications set to close on July 23.

“Bulawayo Polytechnic in conjunction with the new Binga Polytechnic is inviting prospective students to apply for courses that are scheduled for 2022. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Lessons will be conducted at the Binga Polytechnic Campus,” reads the notice issued by Bulawayo Polytechnic. 

The Binga Polytechnic is being established shortly after President Mnangagwa visited the district and assured the community of Government commitment to uplift the district, which had lagged behind in development.

Apart from the establishment of Binga Polytechnic, the President directed ministries to develop infrastructure projects in Binga that include rehabilitation of roads, a new border post, borehole drilling, setting up of a nursing school at Binga Hospital and the refurbishment and operationalisation of the hospital mortuary.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has already moved beyond conceptualising a polytechnic for Binga District with the enrolment.

In an interview yesterday, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira, said the reason why his ministry has already called for enrolment of students is that a training college should be understood beyond the physical structures.

“When we started Gwanda State University it was incubated by the National University of Science and Technology (Nust). When we started Lupane State University it operated under Nust and when we started Marondera University it was incubated at the University of Zimbabwe,” he said. 

“This is what is happening with Binga Polytechnic. It is being incubated by Bulawayo Polytechnic just the same as Plumtree Polytechnic. We are doing this because we understand that an industrial training college is not just a physical building but a concept of learning that is backed by a legal statute. 

“The pace we are moving in is that we are enrolling students before we even build physical structures,” said Prof Murwira.

Without stating the actual amount that has been made available, the minister said they have funds to start construction of the of Binga Polytechnic in line with President’s Mnangagwa’s vision.

Prof Murwira said his ministry is on a drive to spread the higher education to the periphery areas with the establishment of Plumtree Polytechnic already at an advanced stage.

“The President gave an instruction that we need to spread higher and tertiary education to all corners of the country and we are acting on that instruction,” he said. “We are targeting areas that previously had no access to such education. We started with Hwange Teachers College, which will conduct its first graduation this year. 

“We have moved to Binga and Plumtree Polytechnics. This is according to the devolution agenda of leaving no one behind. We are also going to establish Victoria Falls Polytechnic focusing on the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Minister Murwira.

Plans are also on course to build industrial training colleges in districts such as Beitbridge, Chipinge, Muzarabani, Nyamapanda, Chirundu and Kariba.

“All those areas that used to be neglected will have an industrial training centre,” he said.

Public policy expert Mr Teddy Ncube said the establishment of industrial training centres in marginalised communities will in the long run address the skills deficits by making training accessible at community’s door steps. 

“It is also in line with the New Dispensation thrust to grow the economy through the education sector. It shows the inclusiveness of the New Dispensation, which has made a policy that no area should be left behind,” said Mr Ncube. 

“It’s targeting areas, which for one reason on another have been left behind. For long Binga has been neglected and the New Dispensation wants such areas to also participate in economic activity through education,” he said.

Mr Ncube said this will also address skills shortages as technical training colleges will produce graduates who are not just theoretically grounded but have technical expertise to resolve issues in their own societies.

Through skills training communities will be able to fight off poverty, which has pushed most people in the periphery to seek menial jobs in neighbouring countries.

“This also means that if skilled people leave the country, they become more competitive on the global market unlike the prevailing situation where some of them are used as cheap labour as they work in menial jobs,” said Mr Ncube. 

“Having more skilled personnel will also mean that when individuals leave for the diaspora the country benefits through Diaspora remittances. For instance, the country generated US$1,4 billion through Diaspora remittances last year alone. So, this will also contribute to the country’s economic growth,” said Mr Ncube.

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