FOR a country that is working towards attaining an upper middle income economy in the next seven years, education is no longer just about the A grades and the distinctions.
Education is no longer about memorising as much as you can for the sake of looking good after the release of examination results.
Rather, education is about acquiring relevant knowledge and skills such that graduates can play a meaningful role in building the country’s economy.
Under Education 5.0, a doctrine for the modernisation and industrialisation of the nation through education, science and technology; tertiary institutions are required to launch into outcomes-focused national development activities towards a competitive, modern and industrialised Zimbabwe.
Learning is now all about problem-solving for value-creation.
Tertiary institutions, by combining critical thinking, creative thinking, innovativeness and an entrepreneurial mindset, can provide industrial solutions that can positively impact national economy.
Already, industrial parks and innovation hubs have been set up at most tertiary institutions across the county to promote the industrialisation and modernisation of the country through giving students an opportunity to acquire practical skills.
This was long overdue, considering that in 2021, a Government commissioned audit showed that the country had a serious skills deficit averaging 38 percent despite having one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
Back then, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said the nation was struggling with a 95 percent skills deficit in the medical sector and 94 percent skills gap in the engineering sector, a situation which was affecting service delivery and economic growth.
He said the country had a serious shortage of skills and qualifications in medicine, engineering and agriculture, yet these were the key drivers of the economy.
This deficit informed the direction that has been taken by the tertiary institutions after identifying the additional skills and knowledge that are still required to meet the country’s skills needs.
The identified economic opportunities also inform the curricula that is being dished out to the students enrolling into tertiary institutions.
Last year, a total of 37 518 candidates set for the Advanced Level examination whose pass rate was an impressive 84. 67 percent.
A good chunk of these students will find their way to the country’s various universities and colleges where they are expected to acquire skills on how to provide solutions to industry problems as well as create employment for themselves.
It is encouraging to note that quite a good number of those enrolling into tertiary institutions are taking science and technology courses, as well as those focusing on mining and farming, the key drivers of our economy.
The tertiary institutions should also organise career guidance sessions before accepting applications to ensure that students select careers they are passionate about.
With an education system that is fit for purpose, Vision 2030 is surely within reach.