Binga, Plumtree Polytechnics open

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

GOVERNMENT has moved in to operationalise Binga and Plumtree Polytechnic Colleges with the release of $100 million towards rehabilitation of key infrastructure components to be used in setting up the two institutions of higher learning. The two colleges are the latest institutions to be established as Government is spreading access to higher and tertiary education in Matabeleland region and will be incubated under the Bulawayo Polytechnic College.

Binga Polytechnic College is expected to open its doors for its first intake within two weeks as Government has availed financial and human resources towards ensuring the landmark opening of the college, in the previously marginalised Binga District.

Bulawayo Polytechnic College

Works are expected to have commenced on Monday this week for the rehabilitation of temporary shelter where Binga Polytechnic College will be based in Binga Centre, Matabeleland North, while works on Plumtree Polytechnic in Matabeleland South are underway.

This comes as the Government has made a commitment to spread higher and tertiary education to periphery areas across the country in line with its inclusive devolution-driven development agenda that seeks to ensure ‘no place is left behind’ in terms of development. Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said Binga and Plumtree Polytechnic Colleges were a launchpad towards decentralising the higher education sector and boosting industrialisation.

“We have released $100 million for both Binga Polytechnic and Plumtree Polytechnic. Each has been allocated $50 million,” he said in an interview.

“It’s just a down payment for now but it shows the commitment we have towards improving access to higher education. As you know we are spreading higher education to all the corners of the country.

Hwange Teachers College

“What we are implementing now has been part of planning since the coming in of the Second Republic. We started with Hwange Teachers College and we are spreading across the country. 

“Binga and Plumtree Polytechnics are a well thought idea as we are bringing higher and tertiary education to places that did not have this access.”

The minister said Binga Polytechnic College will operate like Westgate Industrial Training in Bulawayo, which is the reason why Government decided to reduce the level entry point. “We are for skills and knowledge. We have polytechnics such as Bulawayo Polytechnic, which is a higher polytechnic, but we also have Westgate Training Centre in Bulawayo, which requires a certain level of education, but not necessarily O’levels,” said Prof Murwira.

“Students enrolled at industrial training colleges although they require to have certain some level of education, they don’t necessarily need to have O-levels to have skills.”

Minister Professor Amon Murwira

He said on industrial training colleges, Government is concerned with producing students who will have skills to develop the country. “We want them to start companies. We want to develop a cadre who is able to employ others and catapult capabilities,” said the minister. “We believe higher and tertiary education has the ability to catapult capabilities. The move is to ensure that we industrialise the country. 

“In the past we used to have these bottlenecks such as the requirements for qualification such as Ordinary Levels. Although we recognise the importance of having a certain level of education, we are in the process of developing an upper middle-income economy where we need to create jobs, opportunities and capabilities from existing gaps. 

Gwanda State University

“Hence, we are not putting a waiver on education but we have removed a certain level of requirement for recruits for Binga Polytechnic.”

The ministry has also channelled funds towards developing Gwanda State University, Lupane State University, Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic and Hwange Teacher College as the Government has taken a deliberate policy position to develop the country through access to high and tertiary education. To complement Government efforts, Binga community availed temporary shelter at a vocational training centre in Binga Centre while Binga Rural District Council has availed 30 hectares of land for the construction of Binga Polytechnic College.

Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic

A deliberate position has been taken to place a five Ordinary Level requirement waiver for those who want to enrol at the college as part of affirmative action to develop Binga through skills development.

Prof Murwira said the Second Republic is on a drive to create opportunities where pessimists see challenges. He made reference to the 2018 National Qualification Framework study, which unearthed that the country has a shortage of artisans, which saw Government dropping some of the stringent requirements for aspiring students.

“When we came in as the Second Republic, we dropped the mathematics requirements for students who wanted to do courses that did not require those subjects,” he said. 

“But what all this means is that we are moving to an era of abilities where we don’t really care about how you talk. The Second Republic is walking the talk in terms of making higher and tertiary education accessible to the corners of the country. 

“This is what it means when we say we are leaving no one and no place behind and we are building these institutions ourselves in line with the philosophy that ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo’. Bulawayo Polytechnic will be building these institutions with our students and lecturers.” – @nqotshili

Article Source: The Chronicle

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