STEM students at public schools in Zimbabwe offered free education

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Students that are registering for Advanced Level science subjects at public schools are going to get a free education after an announcement was made that the government will cover their full school and boarding fees.

This is meant to promote the learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines which the government has recognised as key drivers for economic growth.

According to the Herald, the statement made by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, also pointed out that schools which register full lower Sixth Form STEM classes in 2016 stand a chance to win a cash prize of $100,000 and a bus.

Other incentives thrown into the promotion of STEM include the chance for ten 2016 Lower Sixth STEM students to win a trip to the United States where they will tour Microsoft and a group of companies in Silicon Valley. 100 laptops and 100 iPads are also being given away to lucky Lower Sixth Form STEM students.

This is the strongest push towards STEM education at a high school level that has been enacted by the government. It has been driven by the need for science and technology skills in various facets of the economy, something that government has even highlighted in its Zim Asset Economic Plan.

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There is a significant skills shortage in STEM-related fields, not just in Zimbabwe, but on a global scale. Locally, areas of economic importance like mining, agriculture and telecommunications are constantly expanding in scope, creating the need for a continued replenishment of talent. These areas will benefit from the move as it will likely encourage students to consider the STEM path.

It is worth observing, though, that this declaration has to be followed up by strategic efforts in resource mobilisation and skills development beyond the churn out of students that sign up for a free high school education.

At a tertiary level, there have to be measures to ensure that the increased number of STEM students is translated to viable skills that benefit the economy. While we might encourage more students to become engineers, they would need to plough those skills into the country for the move to be rewarding.

Zimbabwe already has tertiary institutions that have been churning out graduates in STEM disciplines. While some end up facing challenges of unemployment and underutilization of skills due to limited opportunities, a significant quotient pursue opportunities outside the country, creating the “brain drain” challenge.

These issues would also need to be addressed to ensure that what starts off as an encouraging move at a High School level, doesn’t turn into an unrewarding effort at a later stage.

image credit – University of Kansas

30 Comments

  1. G says:

    good move, although i doubt that this will be sustainable looking at the budget constraints. but good steps nonetheless. many students want to study stem at o and a level but the lack of laboratories is one area they should look at. startup competitions and science fairs where students win prizes for creating technology products in every university and school at regional and national level could be a good way to boost stem

  2. tinm@n says:

    They should buy books.

    There are countless schools where students have one Maths,Physics,Biology or other science book(used by the teacher)

  3. rec says:

    where is this coming from

    1. jah luv says:

      stem is Good but prepare for jobs

  4. lj says:

    is there a chance for students who wrote their O level stem subjects before 2015

  5. z!m@non¥mou$ says:

    mmmm nice move, but a risky one. Just looking at the economy i doubt this will go as far. And what about undergraduates venturing in such related majors, because with commercials you can take BBSCT but the government is forgeting these folks. Fees at local universities are high in these fields so government you have to consider your move as you are ‘ freezing ice cream before it crosses the desert to the consumer’.

    1. Nyasha Saimon Sigs says:

      this must be done to undergraduate s so tht thoz who will be doing sciences at A level wil work hard .it doesn’t make sense if these guys get some aid at A level and end up being school leavers vasingaende unIversity after all the move Is unfair are all students supoz to do sciences?

  6. TheKing says:

    Truth of the matter is we don’t have a shortage of people taking sciences at A-Level. In some years, there is actually a surplus and universities have a hard time selecting students. This is more of a political move, or maybe the old man thinks he can revive the economy by promoting sciences. Well the old man is what he is, old, out of touch with reality. Commercials and Arts are important as well and play key roles in any healthy economy. Some countries have a shortage of students taking STEM subjects, but this is far from true in Zim.

  7. dj says:

    mmmmmm wat a move

  8. Valentino says:

    What’s the catch?…. I mean there is something u want us to do in return right?

  9. Econet Mbhavha says:

    Well done Professor Moyo

  10. Msk7 says:

    why sciences only? We are all the same there in schools and the arts and commercials are also important, we must consider the fact that not every is a science student.

    1. iconwoman says:

      Agree. Besides the two compliment each other. My answer to this whole STEM saga is: ““Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Give every child a chance be it in sciences, commercials, vocational etc.. Most business gurus I know are people that had a creative mind that led them to explore different things and came up with ingenious ideas.

  11. Anonymous says:

    what a mess the government sponsored thousands of students through the cadet-ship program,,hundreds of thousands of those students are still locked in the country claiming to have finished different degree programs with no proof in hand since the certificates are still held by by these colleges,,,,my advise to this do not go for these stressing adventures,,,,,lot of people have lots chances in life just because the government paid for them

    1. Duane says:

      You are saying nothing in a volume of words

  12. jubilee f kangara says:

    well this is a very complex issue , it is very important to consider both ends of the stick ,to be frank the government can be a great impact to the sophistication of your thinking ,so if it’s all good news to you then go for it but don’t forget to take your brain with you……..

  13. praise says:

    ya this is a good idea

  14. Anonymous says:

    so which schools are taking students now so that we register our children

  15. Vivian Future says:

    this is great but how do l apply for the programe

  16. Tichman says:

    yar stem is important but if we look at the economy of our country this could be impossible and stem is not the only field that needs support please let us avoid over specialisation because it will result in increasing costs tomorrow

  17. BrintzOnline says:

    This a good move towards promoting Science and technology education in the country,but the problem is, after they attain the knowledge, how do they get to develop that knowledge into useful skills which they can apply to industry so as facilitate economic growth

  18. Chris Ndebele says:

    Say a child is not good in math or science subjects but Is beyond literate in technology, he can’t be funded…. coz i really think we should recognize such kidz, if we groom them in their area of expertise its would be great ….. coz i have a hard time in maths im still struggling to get my o level maths nt to talk abt alevel,but Im good in technology

  19. Prosper Mwatsika says:

    Be aware of this aren’t they tricking us to trust them.My words to you ‘scientists’ are “Be AWARE of stem”

  20. MAGSHAFIVAT says:

    STEM is the key to success

  21. mchats says:

    why are computes not on the programm bcoz last time I checked they were regarded as technology….some of us want to do computers at A Level.

  22. Cephas mabva says:

    Nice prof moyo…

  23. ngonidzashe says:

    grt move but my question is that until when is that just 2016 students here or next year again

  24. shingey masuku says:

    program its gud but it needs attention considering our economy

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