Source: Contribution to education unparalleled | The Herald September 7, 2019
Columbus Mabika and Charmaine Brown
Former President Cde Robert Mugabe’s commitment to black empowerment through education remains unparalleled on the continent, A Cabinet minister has said.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said positive developments in the country’s education sector since independence prove that Cde Mugabe was a “malleable and an untiring chief educator”, whose successful education policy still remains an envy of many world leaders.
“Former President Mugabe will forever remain the founding father of this country,” he said.
“Mugabe and his colleagues in the late 1950s and 1960s were also the founding fathers of nationalism and they moved to being the founding fathers of the liberation struggle.
“The resolve of that generation and the resolve of Mugabe himself is unparalleled. The issue of resources and the limitation of resources were never an issue to them.
“If there is anywhere where there is not going to be any controversy about Robert Mugabe it is his commitment to education, which is unparalleled. He sits with icons not just in Africa, but globally to discuss education matters.”
Prof Mavima said Cde Mugabe’s commitment to education has resulted in astronomical growth of the sector and a high literacy level.
The United Nations puts Zimbabwean literacy at 83.6 percent.
“Due to this empowerment that came through education, Zimbabweans in different professions have left a mark throughout the world, and it is all thanks to Mugabe’s fundamental leadership as far as education is concerned,” said Prof Mavima.
“Zimbabwe has lost its iconic founding father, a principled man. If he made any mistakes they were mistakes that were made genuinely, while thinking he was doing the right thing.
“We bereave with the family and this is a national bereavement as he was a national persona and international statesman.”
Cde Mugabe’s efforts in the education sector have ensured that Zimbabwe has remained at the apex of Africa’s literacy rankings.
The success of the education sector in Zimbabwe is reflected by statistics in the regional rankings, as well as job placements and entrepreneurial stamina of Zimbabweans, locally and abroad.
Zimbabweans have made their mark on the entrepreneurial front, with a number of them establishing sprawling global business empires from scratch.
Cde Mugabe, himself a teacher by profession, used to teach fellow comrades while in detention.
He tutored them till they attained some academic qualifications.
To complement the free primary school education policy in the early 80s, the late former president introduced grants for university students that enabled children from all backgrounds to gain access to tertiary education.