Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZimChe) has started implementing the Minimum Bodies of Knowledge and Skills (MBK/S) that have seen some programmes at universities being changed or scrapped.
Although Sunday News could not immediately get the list of the affected programmes, it is understood that one of them is Media and Society Studies at the Midlands State University (MSU) in Gweru. The Government last year indicated that at least 20 programmes at various universities would be scrapped since they were producing graduates who do not have innovative skills.
The quality assurance standards exercise was done as a requirement for the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework under Statutory Instrument (SI) 133 of 2019. In an interview, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Professor Amon Murwira said ZimChe has come up with the MBK/S that prescribes the basic knowledge and skills that a graduate should possess when they study towards a degree.
MBK/S represent standardisation of the curricula in Higher Education institutions in the country. The MBK/S are tools for facilitating equivalence and comparability of qualifications offered by Higher Education institutions in Zimbabwe. Prof Murwira said ZimChe has suspended all degree programmes that have not met the minimum standards while ZimChe has also compiled MBK/S that would be followed by all universities in the country. He said universities were given an ultimatum to comply with the Minimum Bodies of Knowledge and Skills before the beginning of the 2020 academic year in August.
“ZimChe has come up with Minimum Bodies of Knowledge and Skills (MBK/S) which are tools for facilitating equivalence and comparability of qualifications offered by Higher Education institutions in Zimbabwe. ZimChe has dropped every degree that does not conform to the principles of bodies of knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, at the moment I have no names of the degrees that have failed to meet the minimum standards. The names are with ZimChe. All the universities were supposed to conform to these principles in August this year. This is why we did not enrol first year students in March. If a degree is not compliant with the framework it shall be suspended,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the quality assurance standards exercise ensured that there is uniformity in degree programmes being offered in the country in terms of skill and knowledge.
“We now have the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework in which we are saying similar degrees should be standardised with at least 80 percent of their courses overlapping and the remaining 20 percent should cater for the specialisation of that university. What we are also saying is that every course every degree should have two things that are minimum bodies of knowledge and minimum body of skill which means that we would want to know what exactly the student is going to learn in terms of knowledge and skill,” he said.
Minister Murwira said the Media and Society Department at MSU should approach the senate and the council and present their concerns.
This follows an outcry by academics after ZimChe dropped the pioneer media degree programme and compelled the institution to change it.