via Practical subjects must be compulsory — President | The Herald November 2, 2013
PRACTICAL subjects should be made compulsory for all pupils so that they attain skills that will not make them seek employment, President Mugabe has said.
The President recently appointed a Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education, Cde Josiah Hungwe, to ensure that apart from teaching academic subjects, the education system imparts life skills.
Speaking during a briefing at the Roman Catholic Church-run Sacred Heart Girls High School, which is under construction in Umzingwane District, President Mugabe said training in manual work was essential in developing self-sufficient citizens who would manage to survive even economic hardships.
He said the land that Government gave to the people was the greatest resource, which if utilised productively, could spur the country’s economy and employ thousands of people.
“We are aware that employment is not yet there, but people have the land. Yes, we will revive the industry and that is why we are working on revamping Bulawayo firms.
“Let us not be deceived that everyone should work in industry. We need people who would work on the land also. Today we have boys we send to school who cannot even milk a cow,” he said.
“Let us go back to that old system of education where children were taught hands on skills.
“All practical subjects like building, carpentry, home economics and agriculture must be made compulsory so that when children grow up and cannot find jobs they can use their skills to survive.”
The President said his father was a carpenter and his mother a successful farmer hence his passion for farming.
President Mugabe, who was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers Dr Ignatius Chombo (Local Government) and Cde Andrew Langa (Sports and Culture), chiefs and senior civil servants toured the school, which is expected to open its doors in January next year.
The First Family donated a perimeter fence, which has already been erected and is financing the construction of a modern-design dormitory to the tune of US$460 000.
The project is being undertaken by a Chinese firm, Hualong Construction and it is 80 percent complete.
President Mugabe pledged to continue supporting the school and to engage more partners, including the Ministry of Finance towards expanding and expediting the project.
“I can selfishly say this is my project. The sisters (nuns) have been writing me letters about this work until I eventually discussed with Dr Chombo that we needed to do something for Sacred Heart.
“We approached our friends, the Chinese and they are here. We came to assess this project and I am impressed by the work you are doing. I have visited different places in Matabeleland South, but have never visited this place,” said the President.
“I will keep asking for more assistance for the school. Now we have our own Government and we can ask the Minister of Finance to do one or two things and that depends on what is the most immediate thing after this dormitory project.”
The President paid tribute to the Roman Catholic Church, to which he is a devout member, for building schools in the country and assisting the nation to develop moral principles.
The school head, Sister Hellen Chavi said the new institution was meant to cater for the girl child after consideration of the poor pass rates by girls in the districts as most of them walk long distances to the nearest school or end up dropping out of school.
At the moment Umzingwane District has two boys schools, Falcon and Umzingwane High.
“Our goal is to equip and empower the girl child with knowledge and practical skills, to be productive and competent,” said Sister Hellen.
“We want to give children survival skills and cultivate in them Christian ethos and upright moral values. We will also create education opportunities for school leavers. Boys would also be accommodated as day scholars.
Sister Hellen said the school would start enrolling form two’s and was targeting 480 pupils when fully operational.
At the moment the school has a double classroom block, two staff cottages, Blair toilets and furniture.
Construction work started in July this year and the school is aiming at building six staff cottages, six dormitories, administration offices and library, school hall and lecture theatres.
The school was supposed to open this year but delayed because of lack of adequate infrastructure.
Dr Chombo said the dormitories build by President Mugabe would accommodate 72 pupils, two prefects, provides a room for trunks, six toilets and showers, a common room, two laundry and ironing rooms and a three bed roomed flat for sisters.
Cde Langa also paid tribute to the First family for assisting in the building of the school and described President Mugabe as a champion in education matters.