Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday said the government has a vision to create world-class learning institutions in the country as it strives to curb the flow of school children going to study abroad.
Tsvangirai was speaking at a send-off ceremony for students under the United States Achievers Programme (Usap) who are set to study at various universities and colleges in the US. The programme is valued at $7 million.
“While I am heartened by this gesture by the American people, my vision is to create world-class learning institutions so that our children do not have to go outside the country to study, but can only do so out of choice not because we do not have globally-competing facilities,” said Tsvangirai.
He said the aim was for Zimbabwe to regain its status as a standard bearer of education in Africa.
“We want Zimbabwe to reclaim its status as a referral centre for education in sub-Saharan Africa and this vision will be supported by a strong education-oriented Budget underpinned by a growing economy in a democratic environment. This is possible.”
Some 31 local students earned scholarships to pursue further studies at various universities and colleges through Usap.
The students completed a year-long programme run by the US Embassy to assist them in university application and scholarship processing.
Usap is designed to assist academically-talented but economically-disadvantaged students. Speaking at the same occasion Ambassador Charles Ray said:
“These 31 remarkable young people have earned over $7 million in scholarships. They have been admitted and funded to top US colleges and universities to pursue studies of their choice over the next four years.”
The Usap was established in 1999 in Zimbabwe and has been replicated in 15 other countries around the world.