Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
CEMENT manufacturing company PPC Zimbabwe on Friday handed over a state-of-the-art solar-powered science and computer laboratory block to Sojini High School in Mbembesi, Umguza district in Matabeleland North province as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The block was constructed at a total cost of US$105 000 at the High School with an enrolment of 630 learners and a complement of 30 teachers. PPC Zimbabwe donated and fitted 20 computers to the newly constructed school’s computer lab.
Guest of honour at the handover ceremony, Matabeleland North Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Hon Richard Moyo who was represented by director in his office Mrs Boetsoarelo Mugwagwa commended PPC’s work in strengthening the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools especially in rural settings.
“As the country marches towards becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030, under the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa, we are cognisant of the fact that realising this goal will greatly depend on building manpower that is equipped with the right knowledge and skills, to innovate and solve our nation’s challenges.
The world is moving rapidly towards the fourth industrial revolution, and this means that STEM has become indispensable.”
The Minister said for Zimbabwe to industrialise, to benefit from its mineral and agricultural resources, and to grow the economy, STEM was the foundation. He said through strong and robust STEM education, the country could mould the thinkers to be problem solvers and innovators that will steer the nation in developing new ideas, creating and using technology, and applying their knowledge to build the nation.
“All this translates to a better quality of life for Zimbabweans, more jobs and more opportunities.”
Minister Moyo said corporates such as PPC were instrumental in supporting Vision 2030 and impacting society positively. He challenged other corporates to roll up their sleeves like PPC had done in order to positively impact the country’s education system.
PPC Zimbabwe managing director Mr Kelibone Masiyane said the importance of the project was to improve the quality of life for Sojini students and community.
“The important role that education plays in the development of nations cannot be overemphasszed. Quality education is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal, and PPC believes that obtaining quality education is the foundation for improving people’s lives,” said Mr Masiyane.
He said a population that was educated in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was one that was competitive in the global stage.
“PPC Zimbabwe is confident that there is sharp intellect here at Sojini, which has not had the opportunity to reach its maximum potential in STEM because of resources. Therefore, we are excited to turn the page together and empower Sojini High School’s learners to resolve our nation’s challenges and to explore new avenues for their own benefit as well.”
He said that STEM was an essential piece of the puzzle for Zimbabwe and the people, as the nation desperately needs a new crop of doctors, engineers, scientists and technical minds to build the collective future.
Mr Masiyane said as an organisation they believed it was crucial and meaningful role to play in uplifting African infrastructure and people.
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu urged the responsible use of the block saying infrastructure development was part of the initiatives that would inspire the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) which the government had adopted.
School head Mr Themba Nyoni thanked PPC Zimbabwe for the gesture saying the era of learners congregating under a tree was gone by. He expressed his committed to ensuring the block and the twenty computers donated by PPC to the school were well looked after.