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Govt to host educational indaba

THE government is set host an education all-stakeholders’ conference in December to review the school curriculum to put emphasis on vocational skills training.

Report by Report by Nqaba Matshazi

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart last week said while Zimbabwe had a good education system, the curriculum was too academically-oriented.

He said greater focus should be placed on vocational skills.
“The country’s curriculum was last reviewed in 1986 and we need to update it to include ICT (information and communication technologies) and the environment, among others,” he said.

Expected to attend the conference are leaders from industry, agriculture, mining and commerce, as the government seeks to develop a “broad-based” curriculum to prepare students for life after school.
Previous attempts to develop a new curriculum had been abortive, with the Nziramasanga Commission on Education recommendations of 1999 yet to be adopted.

The commission said academic education on its own was not entirely beneficial and there was need to input vocational training into the schools’ curriculum.

Coltart said he would recommend to Cabinet, that provisions of the Nziramasanga Commission be adopted, so that Zimbabwe’s education system could benefit learners more.

Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa, while the quality of education is third behind Kenya and Gambia on the continent, according to the World Economic Forum report of 2012.

However, in the provision of internet and ICTs in schools, Zimbabwe performs poorly, as it is ranked 129 out of 142 countries. It also polls woefully in the provision of training and research, as it is ranked 105.

As if to illustrate the new direction education was taking, Cabinet recently approved a memorandum of understanding between the Education ministry and Foundations for Farming, which would see conservation agriculture becoming an integral part of the school curriculum.

A number of rural schools have been selected for the pilot programme for the conservation agriculture initiative, with the scheme later expected to spread throughout the country.

Coltart was optimistic of the agreement signed with Foundations for Farming, saying it had the capacity to revolutionise agriculture in Zimbabwe.

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