‘Com­ple­ment STEM ini­tia­tive by de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture in schools’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili

THE Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) ini­tia­tive of pay­ing fees for ALevel pupils can only be suc­cess­ful if com­ple­mented by req­ui­site in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment in schools, a se­nior of­fi­cial has said.

Zim­babwe Man­power De­vel­op­ment chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Fredrick Man­dizvidza said this yes­ter­day at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust) STEM awards cer­e­mony for Bu­l­awayo.

A to­tal of 21 pupils re­ceived their STEM prizes in the city.

The prizes con­sisted of 10 IPads and 10 lap­tops while an­other pupil will be trav­el­ling to the United States’ Sil­i­con Val­ley, dubbed the home of STEM.

Zimdef is pay­ing fees for 5 132 A-Level pupils coun­try­wide who took up STEM sub­jects, with 499 of them com­ing from Bu­l­awayo.

STEM sub­jects are Math­e­mat­ics, Physics, Bi­ol­ogy and Chem­istry.

Mr Man­dizvidza im­plored par­ties in­ter­ested in hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment to as­sist schools with in­fra­struc­ture that will see STEM pro­pelled to greater heights.

“What we need to do col­lec­tively is to up the game when it comes to in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment. There is a need to up­grade our lab­o­ra­to­ries to avail equip­ment. These are sci­ence sub­jects and they re­quire ap­pa­ra­tus in the lab­o­ra­to­ries. They also re­quire cur­rent text­books and I think these are is­sues that need to be ad­dressed,” he said.

Mr Man­dizvidza said the coun­try should mould a cul­ture among the youths that pro­motes re­search and in­no­va­tion at a ten­der age.

He said the coun­try has the ca­pac­ity to cre­ate great in­ven­tors that can make Zim­babwe a global force.

“The key is­sue is for us not to lose vi­sion for STEM which is to in­dus­tri­alise Zim­babwe. In terms of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, we’ve got to tap into our na­tional tal­ent . . . Tal­ent as far as in­no­va­tion, re­search and de­vel­op­ment is con­cerned. That’s a cul­ture that we need to de­velop.

“That cul­ture starts with the young­sters that we’ve equipped to­day,” said Mr Man­dizvidza.

He said the youths should be self mo­ti­vated by sci­en­tific knowl­edge to trans­form the coun­try’s fu­ture.

The Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment, Am­bas­sador Machivenyika Ma­pu­ranga, said STEM would con­tinue to be on the Gov­ern­ment’s agenda as the coun­try’s fu­ture hinges on it.

He said the prizes draw is an­other in­cen­tive for pupils to take up STEM sub­jects.

“The STEM rev­o­lu­tion will go a long way in un­lock­ing the na­tion’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial. In this re­gard, Zim­babwe’s ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies should be an­chored around sci­en­tific re­search and de­vel­op­ment in which STEM is de­vel­oped and ex­ploited for the ben­e­fit of so­ci­ety as a whole,” he said. — @nqot­shili

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