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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Do not shun practical subjects – Professor Mavima urges learners

Story by Justin Mahlahla

Young people have been urged to take up practical subjects and develop future-ready skills that enable them to think creatively, adapt quickly and solve complex problems.

The call was made by the Minister of Skills Audit and Development, Professor Paul Mavima, while addressing the Scholastica Indaba at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo this Thursday.

Professor Mavima was presenting on the topic, ‘From Vision to Action: A pathway to Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030’.

“I want to urge you to take seriously the opportunity that our reformed I implore you to seize the opportunity to at least muster one technical skill to competency levels as you go through your educational career. Do not shun practical subjects such as agriculture, wood technology, metal technology, clothing technology, design (e.t.c). I am glad that our system has provided certification through HEXCO for those who take some of these subjects at “O” Level. The curriculum is deliberate in ensuring the development of an inquisitive mind through the teaching of critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” said the Minister.

He said, “Young people are full of dreams, ideas, and aspirations, but it is the courage to take the first step that sets you apart. Vision without action is merely a distant dream, while action without vision is aimless effort. As Government, we are encouraging young people to combine vision and action to unleash the power that shapes their future and the future of our country in general. Vision is the spark that ignites the flame of progress. It is the ability to see beyond the present, to imagine a better tomorrow, and it is the motivator that drives the pursuit of excellence. Action is the engine that will continue to drive your passion until you attain your set goals.”

The Minister stated that the Second Republic has instituted and continues to strengthen Heritage-Based Education, with an emphasis on the creation of goods and services asthe goal of the education system.

“This practical orientation signifies a fundamental shift from the colonial system that was highly theoretical and tested how much learners remembered what they were given by their teachers. The new thrust teaches learners to strive to be useful and productive for themselves, their families, their communities and ultimately for their country and nation. This revolutionary approach leaves you with no option but to acquire both technical and soft skills and competencies as you walk through the journey of learning,” he noted.

Government, through the Ministry of Skills Audit and Development is undertaking a national skills audit exercise cutting across all sectors.

“The Ministry of Skills Audit and Development is in the process of undertaking wider consultations to ascertain the skills gaps in our economy. It is important to ascertain the skills that we have, the skills we lack now and the skills that we will need in the future. The key message emanating from the consultations is that most of our economic sectors are suffering from acute skills shortages regardless of a huge population of educated people our country possesses. This is an indictment of the colonial education system and a further justification of the skills and competency-oriented Heritage education that we are now implementing.

“In today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world, innovation has become a crucial ingredient for success. To thrive in this dynamic environment, individuals need to develop future-ready skills that enable them to think creatively, adapt quickly, and solve complex problems. Unleashing innovative thinking is essential for individuals, organisations, and societies to stay aheadof the curve and create a sustainable future for all. We need to create wealth and banish poverty as a nation. We can only do so when we develop solutions that provide economic opportunity for the majority. Innovation isthe key to this broad based wealth creation.

“The natural resources that our land is endowed with requires people who think outside the box, who challenge assumptions, and explore new possibilities so that we will not remain on the extractive part, but transform our precious minerals to products that can generate more wealth for the nation as we export finished goods. Innovative thinking is not limited tocreative fields like art, music, or design; it is a valuable skill in all areas oflife, from science and technology to business and social entrepreneurship,” said Hon Mavima.

He charged, “Let us embrace technology as young people and use it to come up with problem solving ideas. Globally, we are witnessing startups that are being initiated by very young people, especially those of a school going age. These startups are generating millions of dollars,” making mention of Robert Nay, a 14-year-old who created a game called ‘Bubble Ball’ which became a top download on Apple’s App Store, Nick D’Aloisio, a 15-year-old who developed ‘Summize’, a news aggregation app which was later sold to Yahoo for $30 million, Rwandan Aimable Mugisha who founded KivuPay, a digital payments platform, Ghanaian Emmanuel Gamor (19), developed a mobile app ‘SupaGA’ for monitoring electricity usage and South African Marnus van Heerden, who at 19 co-founded a digital marketing agency ‘V Gate’, among others.

He said his Ministry will create an advisory platform to learn from the young people, as they are more versatile in the digital space.

“To thrive in this new world, we need to promote lifelong learning, adapt and acquire skills for the future such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, creativity and critical thinking, big data literacy and analysis, emotional intelligence, cloud computing, environmental awareness, digitalliteracy, collaboration, adaptability, among others. We want our kids to acquire practical and technical skills from early childhood stages,” said the Honourable Minister.

He noted that the mass exodus of skilled personnel from Zimbabwe during the last two decades exacerbated the skills vacuum which needs to be addressed through a skills revolution that equips the people with relevant skills to meet the demands of a digital era.

The Scholastica is running concurrently with the ZITF themed around the need to industrialise and promote trade through innovation. The trade showcase will be officially opened this Saturday by Kenyan President William Ruto.

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