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Zimbabwe must use education for nation building

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By Trevor Ncube

Love him or hate him, former President Robert Mugabe
prioritised education in Zimbabwe’s transition after 1980 with
huge generational benefits for the country.

Teacher training was ramped up and our schools, colleges and
universities delivered quality talent imbued with an
exceptional work ethic.

Sadly, most of this has been reversed and our education system
needs reimagining.

Last week, as the world celebrated the International Day of
Education, we learnt that 500 000 Zimbabwean children of
school going age are out of school.

Evidence of this is all around us in the number of children
loitering on our streets when they should be receiving an
education to equip them for the future.

The reality in our schools is of great concern, with the
Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment for 2022 revealing that a
quarter of infant learners transition into junior level
without basic reading and computation competencies.

Excerpt for a few private schools, most leavers emerge from
our education system half-baked to face a tough and uncertain
world.

To make things worse, Zimbabwe does not have enough junior and
secondary school places for the nation’s needs.

The number of trained teachers leaving government employ and
going into the private sector and the region is alarming and
this has seen a decline in the quality and number of teachers
in our education system.

Parents are paying some teachers additional fees for extra
lessons for their children, as a lot of the educators have
left the system or are moonlighting.

Teachers who remain in the system are stretched, demotivated
and underpaid.

Working conditions for teachers have been buffeted by years of
economic collapse and misplaced policy priorities.

This is all scandalous.

We cannot develop as a country without investing heavily in
our education system.

Education is a vital instrument to unlocking the potential and
creativity in all our children so that they play a purposeful
role in our progress as a nation.

We must assume that every child has an opportunity to
contribute to our progress and then create the enabling policy
and infrastructure for this to happen.

Adam Grant in his latest book “Hidden Potential” says this:
“Nothing is more vital to the progress of future generations
than the quality of our current education systems.”

Since 2003, Finland has shown the world what happens when the
right attention and resources are channelled towards the
education of every child.

Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from how Finland turned a terrible education system into one that is now admired the world over.

Teachers in Finland are paid well and the most admired profession is teaching.

Teachers in Finland are paid well and the most admired
profession is teaching.

Sixty years ago, teaching and nursing ranked among the most
admired professions in Zimbabwe.

Not anymore.

For Zimbabwe to be competitive in this dog-eat-dog world, we
must realise that education is a vital tool for economic
development and nation building.

Our human capital is a vital resource, particularly if
appropriately equipped to add value and it possesses the
ability to turn challenges into opportunities.

Approximately 7,7 million of our population are children with
2,5 million being under five years of age.

This is a powerful force if our leaders unleash that boundless
ingenuity through an education system that leaves no child
behind.

Zimbabwe’s education system must unlock the collective power
of our human intelligence and deploy it for our development.

Other nations, such as Finland and South Korea, are powering
ahead on the back of huge technological investments and
innovation while we squander our human capital and fight over
vacuous political agendas.

It is a scandal that at a time when other nations are figuring
out generative artificial intelligence and synthetic biology,
our leaders think drilling boreholes is an innovation.

With 500 000 young people of school-going age out of school,
we are at a disadvantage and soon, these will be a burden and
not an asset to the nation.

We build the nation through allowing every child to get an
education that surfaces their God-given talents for the
benefit of all.

This is how new industries, businesses and jobs emerge to
offer a better life for all.

Trevor Ncube is Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of
ICWT.

In Conversation with Precious Nyika

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Precious Nyika opens up about the pain of leaving her job as
Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe CEO. Her story is a lesson in
transitioning from a zone of comfort to unfamiliar territory.
In this episode, Precious shares nuggets on strategy and
leadership. Watch his episode
here..

Audience Responses

From Precious Nyika episode, our community had this to say:

@rejoicenyashamupazviripo5418:
I’m here for this and listening to this with my notebook I
love this comeback describing the process about everything.
Thank you Precious for
@allanjames239:
Blessed to have witnessed your leadership at Lafarge and one
thing you taught us as young engineering GTs at that time
was “Nothing is given and those who go the extra mile will
always make it.”
@patsonchapeyama26:
One of the person I respect and I wish to be mentored with
some day. She is a force !

Coming Next: In Conversation with Amelia Chipo Mashingaidza

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Don’t miss the next episode with Pioneering Consultant, Life
Coach & Entrepreneur Amelia Chipo Mashingaidza In Conversation
with Trevor.

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in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube
sits down with various high-profile guests in a series of
candid, conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines and
beyond the sensational.
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