Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Zimbabwe fine-tunes free basic education mode

by Staff reporter
20 Sep 2022 at 06:03hrs | Views
BUILDING towards sustainable education, Government has come up with self-financing mechanisms for higher and tertiary education while plans are afoot for free basic education starting next year, President Mnangagwa has said.

In a statement delivered virtually to the high level summit on transforming education at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States, President Mnangagwa outlined measures his administration has implemented over the past few years to ensure universal access to education, even under the burden of illegal Western imposed economic sanctions as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

As outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030, Zimbabwe is pursuing a knowledge-driven economy that is anchored on the Competence Based Curriculum and Heritage Based Education 5.0 Philosophy.

Central to the pragmatic approach to education are science, technology and innovation, vital cogs in producing competent and result-oriented graduates who are now finding expression in innovation hubs and industrial parks that were set up by President Mnangagwa.

"In re-imagining the education sector, Zimbabwe is exploring sustainable education financing mechanisms and many other critical areas. As you are aware, the UNESCO Agreement requires that education funding be at the level of between 4 and 6 percent of the GDP or 15 to 20 percent of public expenditure. Despite the economic challenges exacerbated by over two decades of illegal economic sanctions, our education sector remains largely Government funded.

"Currently, the ministries responsible for education account for more than 6 percent of GDP and approximately 17 percent of public expenditure. This is in line with the benchmarks stipulated in the UNESCO Agreement. We have also adopted and operationalised other strategies to increase domestic financing of education. The establishment of innovation and industrial parks as well as self-sustaining commercial ventures within our higher education sector is set to reduce the burden of education on our communities and to the fiscus," said the President.

Even under the dark cloud cast by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country's education sector absorbed the shocks notwithstanding limited setbacks because of sustainable financing from the central Government.

"While, the advent of Covid-19 brought about disruptions in the education sector, Zimbabwe introduced blended teaching, adopted the phased learning approach and compression of the syllabi for basic education. Community education centres and digital learning platforms were also established, among other initiatives. To strengthen these interventions, my Government supported the education sector to produce personal protective equipment, including medical oxygen, among other critical necessities in the fight against the pandemic," President Mnangagwa said.

"Going forward, my Government will progressively provide universal, free and compulsory basic education with effect from 2023. Zimbabwe is also working on other key enablers to accelerate the education transformation agenda."

The President added that his Government values inclusive, equitable and quality education as one of the strategic vehicles for sustainable socio-economic and cultural development.

"Furthermore, my Administration is highly committed to upholding the right of our children and people to affordable and quality education, as stipulated in our national Constitution. Building on the milestone of achieving the highest literacy rate on the African continent, my Government has embarked on robust education curriculum reforms to realise a seamless education ecosystem that accelerates an improved quality of life for our people," he said.

"Focus is on scaling up lifelong learning and entrepreneurship skills training as well as nurturing a culture of production and productivity towards the modernisation and industrialisation of our country. This will see us ably responding to the dictates of the ever-changing and emerging global realities, in the context of the ongoing 4th Industrial Revolution."

In fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly number 4 which aims to ensure inclusive equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic is pursuing "development that leaves no one and no place behind".

"Consequently, we are churning out talented, competent and skilled young learners capable of producing goods and services to meet our country's current and future needs. In this regard, we are leaving no one and no place behind, as we scale up the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal 4."

Taking everyone on board, the Second Republic is also strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training skills and building capacity among teachers in the science and technology fields.

Added to that, women, children, persons with disabilities and vulnerable groups are also included in the education mainstreaming as Zimbabwe remains committed to the Global Education Transformation Agenda.

Source - The Herald