Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE country’s socio-economic development will be underpinned by the Heritage-based Education 5.0 model with institutions of higher learning expected to lead in research and innovation in the utilisation of local resources, a Minister has said.
Education 5.0 is a five-mission model of teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation, established to move the nation forward towards an innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy. It speaks to utilisation of local resources for social and economic development.
The new model, which was adopted four years ago, seeks to produce graduates who solve national problems instead of just being job seekers.
In 2018, President Mnangagwa set out a clear vision for higher and tertiary education. He enunciated that he wanted a human capital development sector that would contribute to national development.
The President wants to see higher and tertiary education institutions playing a more significant role in national development, and providing the essential knowledge and skills needed for production of quality goods and services for the industrialisation and modernisation of the nation.
This meant moving away from old traditional ways of teaching and learning to building an innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy by 2025, as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1).
This way, the sector would significantly contribute towards the attainment of an upper-middle income economy by 2030.
The President then directed that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development embark on stakeholder engagement with all its universities, polytechnics, industrial training colleges, industry and commerce, to inform the nation on the status and needs of the human capital development sector.
The Ministry subsequently ratified the Higher and Tertiary Education Doctrine Framework, which was an evidence-based framework consciously developed to reconfigure the national educational design from that centred on teaching, research and community service to one that would be anchored on a Heritage-Based Education 5.0.
The philosophy behind the model is to contribute to Zimbabwe’s national strategic intent of attaining the status of an upper-middle income economy by 2030 through production of tangible goods and services.
To successfully implement the new philosophy of Heritage-Based Education 5.0, the Ministry embarked on the stakeholder consultative process that produced two key national policies; the Zimbabwe National Critical Skills Audit and the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework, which were later ratified by the President in July 2018.
Heritage-Based Education 5.0 spurred progress in technological developments and infrastructural expansions.
This is a shift from the past when the country’s education sought to regurgitate Eurocentric views without coming up with tailor-made solutions to Zimbabwe and Africa.
Universities and colleges have been mandated to innovate and respond to community challenges.
Government has increased funding towards infrastructure development at universities so as to synchronise the transformation led by higher and tertiary institutions.
In the 2023 National Budget, the Treasury allocated $9,8 billion towards infrastructure development at universities which is a precursor towards aligning universities with their national mandate in the development discourse.
Responding to questions from Chronicle, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Monitoring and Implementation of Government Programmes Dr Joram Gumbo said Heritage-based Education 5.0 is key to attaining Vision 2030.
“The future of the country’s socio-economic development trajectory is underpinned by the Heritage-based Education 5.0 model. The institutions of higher and tertiary learning are now citadels of innovation and industrial hubs, proffering solutions to communities’ problems,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said the positioning of universities is in sync with economic activities of where that particular institution is located.
He said the Education 5.0 learning model has started bearing fruit as most tertiary institutions have begun to articulate President Mnangagwa’s call for technological development to drive the country towards Vision 2030 of an empowered upper middle income economy.
“For instance, the Lupane State University (LSU)’s dryland agro-industrial park is working on improving agriculture production systems from subsistence to semi-intensive and intensive farming systems.
The surrounding communities are benefitting from specialised services such as avian artificial insemination to improve the breed of their indigenous chickens,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s innovation centre for dryland agriculture in Chivi is advancing knowledge on traditional grain and indigenous livestock breeds.
“During the 2021/2022 farming season, a total of 263 farmers were contracted to produce traditional grains across all the seven districts of Masvingo province. Chinhoyi University of Technology has embarked on Industrial Cattle Pens and a milking parlour to improve knowledge on artificial insemination and milk production,” he said.
The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) is expected to lead the country’s technological innovations that will create new industries in line with its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) mandate.
The minister said the Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology is leading in research on the nutritional value of traditional foods.
“Gwanda State University’s mining engineering department is setting up a laboratory to research on recovery processes, value addition and beneficiation of all precious and semi-precious minerals. The mentioned institutions are just examples, among other higher and tertiary learning institutions,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said through the human capital development at higher and tertiary institutions, the Government is equipping primary and secondary schools with information communication technologies infrastructure to improve delivery of education.
He said the Government has since connected 1 192 schools to the internet countrywide.
“A total of 65 information communication technology (ICT) laboratories were established and equipped with internet and computers and one example is Mzinyathini High School in Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South Province,” said Dr Gumbo.
“A total of 1 192 schools, including those in rural areas, were connected to the internet countrywide. The connectivity is bringing rural pupils to speed with ICT development in areas of learning.”
Dr Gumbo said 20 higher and tertiary learning institutions have been connected to the internet.
He said the Government has also connected Public Service Commission Training Centres such as Elangeni in Matabeleland South and Murehwa in Mashonaland East to the internet to capacitate civil servants with ICT skills.
Dr Gumbo said to ensure that no place and no community is left behind, the Government has connected 164 community centres with ICTs. [email protected]
Article Source: The Chronicle