ZIMBABWE has produced less than 2 000 technologists since 1980, most of whom have left the country, a development which has contributed to underdevelopment, a senior Government official has said.
Addressing students at Midlands State University on the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics recently, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said the country has a deficit of technologists who should steer the country’s industrialisation programme.
Prof Moyo said only 1 889 experts in various technological fields had graduated from the country’s universities since 1980.
“We have an adult literacy level of 92 percent, which means about 7 860 788 people are literate in the country. We have 593 994 people who have attained tertiary education and of these 509 138 had undergraduate degrees by 2012.
“Now, most of these people who attained first degrees were in the fields of arts, commercials and social sciences. Most of these degrees are irrelevant in our society. That is why there is a very high unemployment rate.
“We have produced a paltry 1 889 technologists in the country since 1980, and most of these people left the country,” he said.
Prof Moyo said entrepreneurship courses that most universities have included in their curriculum, making them core modules for all degree programmes, were irrelevant.
“There is no need for universities to have entrepreneurship courses being done by all students. This was reactionary because when the society realised that there was a high rate of unemployment, universities responded by introducing entrepreneurship courses. These are not necessary.
“The country is moving towards industrialisation and science and technical programmes and courses are more relevant in our society. We want people who can proffer solutions to the challenges our communities are facing,” he said.
Prof Moyo said the new schools curriculum which was introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was not in tandem with the STEM initiative.
“We have a very strong primary and secondary education system and, we have to applaud the responsible ministry for that. However, the new curriculum is new. What is going to happen is that since we are stematising our higher and tertiary education institutions, most of the high school pupils will not advance to universities or colleges. I do not know what will happen to them, but the moment they realise that their subjects are irrelevant, they will go back to school and do sciences and mathematics,” Prof Moyo said.