Universities out of touch with industrial world: Panelists

Source: Universities out of touch with industrial world: Panelists – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 10, 2017

THERE is a huge disconnect between industry and academic institutions in Zimbabwe, a situation that has left the economy hanging in the balance, NewsDay has heard.


Speaking at a business breakfast meeting organised by Global Shapers Bulawayo hub on Friday, panelists said universities were out of touch with what was happening in the industrial world.

Policy analyst, Butler Tambo, said the education sector has been producing a lot of graduates, who were failing to secure jobs.

“The question is, is it an issue of the graduates not having the requisite skills or is it an issue of industry simply being unable to absorb them? My take becomes a fact that education falls under the superstructure of the economy. So it supposed to be economic policy of the country that determines what universities should produce,” he said.

Another panelist, Davies Sibanda, said there was a huge disconnect between Zimbabwe’s universities and industry.

“One, industry is not static and universities have actually closed themselves out from where everything is happening. The kind of graduate that comes into the industry is actually a graduate, who actually arrives in a workplace when the workplace has moved four to five years ahead,” Sibanda, a labour expert, said.

He said the world was moving so fast that what graduates learnt in the first years at universities become irrelevant to the industry when they finish.

“Our universities are not current and that is the biggest issue,” Sibanda said.

Reginald Shoko, an economic analyst, said universities were dead and needed to wake up.

“Universities in Zimbabwe, as they are, are dead. They are not contributing to anything to the economy because they are just churning out people, who are just certified, but not certified for the existing world,” Shoko said.

In response, academic Samson Mtisi said academic institutions have responded by sending students on industrial attachment as a way of complementing their skills.

But he conceded that there was need for more collaboration between universities and industry.


  • comment-avatar
    Mazano Rewayi 5 years ago

    How short this report is shows how we have lost the plot as a country. The simple solution is less universities, more manual work and practical subjects in schools. Education is critical to a nation’s development. But wrong education is worse that no education. Proper education is never an end in itself but a means to develop a society by equipping young people with the skills needed to participate meaningfully in the productive and service sectors of their community – even our ancestors understood this very well. Colonialists understood it even though they abused it. Then came independence along with leaders whose sole profession is talking. Ever since qualifications and titles are an end in themselves; it’s even hailed as a national achievement. Of late a university degree has become a status symbol not a qualification for service. Every Cde must become a Dr by hook or crook. Nearly every technical college has been converted into a university under some dubious policy of “university per province” – a policy formulated by grade seven dropouts who now populate parliament. Industry and mission schools have joined the fray. The apprenticeship system of the past is virtually dead, mission schools now buy vegetables for students who split their time between reading 12 academic subjects, discussing TV/social media issues and sleeping. The dignity of labour is lost, the value of research to solve survival challenges is lost, the skills to make things work/happen is lost. And when things do not work we establish more churches, more political parties and study more of the things that do not matter.

  • comment-avatar
    Chanisa 5 years ago

    Very true. Western universities make discoveries that make their industries competitive, then we become agents/franchisees of those industries at the cost of copyrights technology fees. They (Western universities) even come here to devise solutions for us!