The Zimbabwe we want (pt 7): Education is a non-negotiable right

via Education is a non-negotiable right | The Zimbabwean 06.04.14 by Vince Musewe and Elton Mangoma

The advancement of any country is solely dependent on the levels of education of its people. In the Zimbabwe we want, education must be a non-negotiable right for every citizen. Education is the greatest form of empowerment.

We expect to create a government that prioritises access to education at all levels of society. Primary schooling should be compulsory and free up to grade seven. Secondary education must be provided to those who excel while it will be important to ensure that from that level no resources are wasted through a one size fits all approach that we have seen in the past.

It will be important to widen choices at secondary level so that we can identify talented students early enough and channel them in the right direction. We will also do our best to destroy the myth that everyone must be a graduate. Zimbabwe needs technicians and entrepreneurs, sports people and arts and culture practioners and it will be important to offer these opportunities at secondary level.

At tertiary level we will emphasise technology and science degrees so that we can create citizens that can fit into our developmental priorities. It is our intention to ensure that no child who excels is denied further education at tertiary level. Government must therefore provide grants and loans to all students who are accepted at our universities.

We will also strengthen research institutions to support our developmental priorities particularly in the agriculture and mining sectors. Zimbabwe can leap frog its neighbours through the application of new innovative technologies that increase production volumes and therefore exports. In the Zimbabwe we want, education policy must seek to maximise our human capital and match that with our economic and developmental objectives. The education dividend must result in an advanced economy compared to other African countries.

The issue of gender equity must also be addressed through an education policy that gives equal access to the girl child to education opportunities starting early at primary level. We believe that this will result in the appropriate gender balance in the long term so that women in society are not unfairly disadvantaged. Women empowerment addresses major social ills in general and this also reduces long term social costs.

Adult education is critical for those who may not have had a chance to progress. In the Zimbabwe we want literacy must mean more than just writing and reading. We must develop a society that uses information to develop itself and will make full use of information technology to achieve this.

Our education system has neglected teaching life skills at an early stage. Life skills are a critical factor for stable and sustainable community development. We will ensure that children are introduced to life skills at primary level and also youth and adults are exposed to leadership development and ethics. Our churches and community organisation will play a central role in the delivery.

Zimbabwe has by accident become a net exporter of skills without a return on investment to the country. In the Zimbabwe we want, we intend to maximise the education dividend regardless of where skills are applied. We believe that in the future Zimbabwe can be the education centre of the region exporting skills while also attracting people to come to Zimbabwe to be educated in our institutions. We need to look at education as an asset that can generate income for the country.

Teachers, lecturers and education providers are a critical input to the education system. In the Zimbabwe we want, teachers and lecturers must not only be respected, but must be adequately rewarded so that they can lead a decent life style and thereby focus on their responsibilities. They must also be continuously trained to get better at what they do with time. Teachers, lecturers and all education providers build future societies and must be appreciated as leaders and role models in our society.

Our future government must get its priorities right when it comes to creating an enabling environment for quality education for all. Access to information technologies and the cost of information must be affordable. Our education curricula must be continuously updated so that they reflect the changing needs of society.

Our rural areas have been neglected, this must change. The majority of our people live in the rural areas and any government that neglects this sector of the population cannot claim to care for its citizens. In the Zimbabwe we want, whether you are in town of in a rural area, you must be able access the same quality of education and opportunities.

Any country that does not maximise on its talent can never develop to its full potential. We must harness the talent and energy of our youth and provide them will all opportunities to excel in all spheres of life. This will benefit the country as a whole.

In the Zimbabwe we want, the educational needs and aspirations of all our citizens must come first and government must ensure that it provides the resources necessary as a matter of priority.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. Elton Mangoma is a Zimbabwean politician and entrepreneur. You may contact Vince directly on



  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 9 years ago

    The worship of education is a very common disease. Education for its own sake is pointless. This country is awash with graduates who are not capable of anything useful. They mostly want a nice white collar job where they can cream the bribes.

    A strong society is built on technicians, plumbers, electricians, machine operators, mechanics, printers. These people produce the goods and services that make a modern lifestyle possible. You cannot say the same of MBA’s, political scientists and the like.

    Plumbers have done more to increase life expectancy and well being than the entire medical profession. Electricians are the people without whom you cannot have electrification. The inability to deal with the simple practicalities by academic types like many of those who lead us is part of the reason why things are indeed falling apart.

    Planners and managers are a very small part of the workforce.

    Even now with our economy in a terrible situation there are skills shortages in specialized areas.

    If you are young do not listen to the people who think that university is the be all and end all. Get a skill that is in demand and you will have a job your life long.

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    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    Deprivation of education to the masses has been an effective weapon used by ZANU to achieve their aim of having a subdued, ignorant populace they you can manipulate for support. They managed this by chasing away competent teachers and replacing them with brainwashed broader Gezi idiots.
    If Mujuru bought her self a degree from Mutate, that says a lot about our universities

    We definitely need to revamp the whole education system. Zanu will not do anything because its not within its interest.

    Destroyers of a nation.
    Pasi navo.

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    reader 9 years ago

    we need to go back and have 5 year apprenticeships for Plumbers, Mechanics, electricians, builders and the list goes on.

    the trade test is not a true reflection of abilities.

    any person that can read and write by the age of 15/16 should be assessed and trained in a necessary job, all these Accountants,hotel and tourism management courses and degrees does not get one a job. Skills are needed, Hospitality needs proper trained Chefs, Waiters with sales, people skills, cleaners that love to clean and are proud of it.
    Plumbers that actually know about water and retriculation, Mechanics that can actually repair a car not just a parts replacement in the hope it works, How many can actually overhaul an engine,Electricians that know why you need an earth!!!!!!

    all companies in Zim pay the ZIMDEV fee every month 1% of turnover this is for this very purpose not for university trained Lawyers, Doctors or Accountants, Economists, not saying we don’t need them, BUT, we need people that can get the water flowing,that know what 1:40 means when it comes to laying drains, we need people that can make the Traffic Lights (robots) work.

    this is where you will employ people other well we still need labour, trenches need digging, roads need laying.

    This is the future of the Youth we have enough entrepeneurs.

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    khumbulan mngun 9 years ago

    A bit distant from the diagnosis of our fall to the smirkable position we now stand on.once considered the most educated on the continent,with a commendable education system led by a proclaimed Africa’s highly educated president.Surely lack of education shouldn’t have and indeed didn’t reduce us to what we are now.But lack of inborn leadership qualities,lack of morals and ethics on issues and decisions of national core.Uppermost the deviation from Ubuntu and the people at heart.Education;right endeavour but wrong diagnosis and focus at the present juncture.

    • comment-avatar

      I always respect Vince’s views but personally I have always held for ‘affordable education.” I just can’t see how free education for everyone could ever be sustainable. Except for the orphans and real needy kids of course. Rhodesia had its draw backs but education was excellent and in almost most cases affordable because government subsidised and the standard of schools, teachers and education tools was good. It was a well run ministry. text books were provided. There was little need for private schooling as govt schools were good. labs were well equipped as were sports facilities etc. When I go back to my old school I want to weep.

  • comment-avatar

    Education is the greatest assert an individual can have but the problem with this generation is that they view education as acquiring a diploma or a degree of which they are many paying jobs which need skills i.e plumber,eletrician,technician only to mention but a few.