Maths requirement leaves hundreds of tertiary students in the cold


HUNDREDS of tertiary students have reportedly dropped out of colleges after failing to register for examinations following an order by government to stop admitting those without Mathematics at Ordinary Level.


A circular from the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry and addressed to all examination centres and the Higher Education Examination Council (Hexco) directed that students without Mathematics should not be allowed to register for examinations.

“Those who were supposed to register are staying at home. It is shattering because some of the students are now home because of this requirement that came recently,” said a college lecturer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Jonathan-Moyo-2 Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo.

At Harare Polytechnic, for example, students who fell victim to the directive said they had applied and enrolled without Mathematics as it was not a requirement, but were to be told that they could not register if they had not passed the subject.

“We enrolled for journalism last year and Mathematics was not a requirement then. In September (after starting in January) we were told that without Maths, we should not come next year for our National Diploma. It came as a shock and as a result, about 50 students from our class dropped out,” one student said.

Efforts to get a comment from Hexco or the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education were fruitless. But Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo was recently quoted by a local radio station as saying students without Maths can register at technical colleges for certificates only, and could not proceed to diploma level without the subject.


  1. this is crazy. there are certain programs that don’t need mathematics to proceed in tertiary education. e.g. the said journalism degree, law, So this law must not just be a blanket law at least only to commercial and science students it will make sense to apply this directive.

  2. this is not fair .some degrees do not require maths.we have students at university level who are now on their final year but they have been denied to graduate.surely this should have applied to those who wrote their A Level last year.journalism does not require maths

  3. Things in Zim are just done at knee jerk. Munhu anongomuka oti hatidi vasina maths…yatova policy, umwe anongomuka oti dzimba idzo dzakashata..handidi kudziona…dzimba dzoduputswa. zvese zvongoitwa kunge feja feja. no planning, no procedure…just kungosura zviitiko. Nyika inotongwa nemarombe chaiwo.

  4. Prof Moyo you are quiet right about Maths. No one should proceed to tertiary education without Maths. Its one way of screening madhanda heads . We need brilliant students to run our economy in the coming years and Maths is one way of doing that. Big up Prof. Sure makadya mabhuku Prof

  5. Maths does not run the economy in any way. Even those without maths can run the economy. It’s all about how you articulate your ideas. How many people have Maths but became failures and how many people who do not have maths but wrote successful life stories in all sectors of society?

    • I think the point is, if we are saying everyone in our society should have O level maths, what we are saying is that everyone in our society should be numerate no matter what profession they are in; and this is good for our society; It results in a higher average standard of living for everyone in the society because everyone can contribute more meaningfully to development. Its nonsense to say that those without maths can run the economy properly, because running an economy is economics, and the metrics used in economics are mathematical. How can you run the economy when you cannot calculate an important economic indicator such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), because maybe you will not even be having a basic understanding and appreciation of what GDP is or means in the first place.

      • You are talking loads of bullshit, your reasoning is pathetic. Failing O`level mathematics does not make one innumerate and neither does failing all subjects make you illiterate. Running the economy and calculating GDP is not for every member of society, those good at maths will do it, just allow those without maths to pursue degrees/diplomas that they are good at and that is what will actually help the economy not stalling someone`s education at form 4 just because they failed maths, that is what will obviously push average standard of living down.

        Maths is overrated, what some people need in their careers is basic arithmetic and that is not what O`level tests, it can actually be acquired at grade seven.

  6. Dr Maths you are an idiot. It does not mean maths is a standard of brilliance. I can have As in all subject and a U in maths it does not make me a dhandha head, the dhandha head is the one who had a maths dream and made it a policy. And even went on to lie to the President kuti it will create employment ask how you will not get any answers because those who can start industries may not even have maths.

    • Its true zvazvo kuti someone good at maths has got some brilliance. This is a living proof in everyday life. But anyway we cant all be brilliant. Give a chance to those who are not so favoured to do what they like best as long as maths do not play a very important role in their training. Kuri kutonga nyika chero asina maths can do it as long as they are sharp in some way.

  7. Well done Prof Moyo. It has always been a requirement but people abused that requirement through nepotism. It is one of the reasons why our economy has crumbled because people can not calculate simply mathematics.
    Someone said you can run a sound economy without maths and that shows how dull some people are. Minimum 5 Os, Maths and English included.

  8. How does mathematics really apply in journalism? Next time the professor will say those without Fashion and Fabrics cannot enroll for an engineering degree..

    • Kkkkkk…ever read estimates of number of people at a particular rally from different journalists? less than 500, 2000, 20000!!!! You begin to wonder if they are reporting of the same gathering or if they can actually count or estimate…hkhkhkhk

  9. Wrong policy nut Professor! It is all wrong to do that. Let universities set criteria for admission to programs. They are better informed than you sir.

  10. Univerisities are the best judges of qualifications required for their programs. This same jonso is trying to hoodwink us into enrolling our children in STEM subjects so that when they fail to get 15 points he will say they dont qualify to do engineering courses bcoz of the huge demand for the courses which will result.

  11. saka mwana asina maths afanana nemwana asina kutomboita o levels. …nokuti wth 9 As wout maths yu are doomed but wth 5cs nemaths waenda kumberi…….saka kana ndikadzinyora ndikapasa does that make me calculative dnt think so……..ini handina maths but I wld challenge vanadzo paApplication yadzo vashoma vanpndirova……..matiuraira nyika

  12. At Bulawayo Polytechnic School of Art and Design ever since this policy was introduced we have experienced low intake per year. A year’s intake used to have 32 students but now its been a trend of 2-4 students intake which means there is very low number of professionals being trained for the Commercial/Graphic Design profession which is so instrumental in the Marketing Industry; these are the people who design advertising material that makes even not so good products look so good. My observation however has been that the students with maths that are being enrolled for this profession have below standard work and are being accorded HND, ND, and NC with work that is below standard compared to those of yesteryears. Food for thought talents differ. With maths or without maths you can still count your money.

  13. Maybe its a way of reducing unemployment levels. If more people get Degrees or Diplomas from Universities and Colleges, it will mean a lot of people will be looking for employment with qualifications and this will increase levels of unemployment.
    Remember when we talk of unemployment we talk of those people who have trained in various courses and not those who have completed Secondary education. so in-order to reduce this unemployment, the Government is now demanding Mathematics even where the subject is not necessary. Demanding Mathematics is a good idea but let us debate this.

  14. If Jonathan Moyo was so mathematically relevant, why did he specialise in Art subjects so long ago? In fact why POLAD for that matter, why not even more challenging persuasions like Law? My firm belief is that Moyo does not have a mathematics qualification himself or at most he has got a C. But he just wants to feel good that he has the power to do whatever he wants, they call it Self Actualisation. My guess is that most excellent hard working journalists and lawyers do not have O level maths. Simple reason is that for these subjects maths is simply a bonus. The Byo Poly comment is sport on. Some courses are purely creative. T prove my point, years ago one simply needed to write a convincing application letter explaining why he needed to study for Social Work. This aprt fom you 5 O’s and some A’s. It was good enough for what is the point of having a straight A’s student yet cruel to the core individual being a Social Worker? So i say the affected students must rise up and challenge this unconstitutional bias in the courst of Lwa. Moyo must provide scientific, empirical evidence to support his idea. This would be a first because elsewhere on the globe, Arts are Arts period.

  15. Another thing, Educationists out there can you please clarify if ever there was a shortage of Maths and Science students at A Level and tertiary. If not, why then this sudden excitement about the subjects? Our national challenges are about governance not student brilliance. My belief is that due to the governance issue in Zimbabwe everthing is falling apart, be it sports, soccer, rugby, cricket et al, be it the arts zvese zvangodhakwa.

    But we have always recorded excellent results anywhere and we have always claimed to have the best education system on the continent. Was that just propaganda? Finally, if there is no hope of getting Tertiary education without Maths, does that therefore mean there is no more Á Level enrolment without O Level Maths? Someone please clarify.

  16. I think this is a welcome move.However i think the directive should not have a retrospective effect.If some people registed when the requirement was not yet there ,i dont see how they should in all fairness be affectd by the decree.Profferssor ipapo marasika

  17. yah at least zvitori bhoo cz nyaya yekushaya maths vamwe vanhu vakutoenda kune mamwe maprograme anoda maths ivo vasina. and generally maths dzinongoita kuti screening ive effective. ANHU NGAVAITE MATHS.

  18. Maths is critical. I have employed several graduates who don’t have maths and haves seen that their problem solving and reasoning capacity was surprisingly poor for someone with a degree. I don’t like the proffessor but he is correct on this one.
    Guys please go back to school and master maths if you are serious about education.
    ndatenda hangu.

    • Why then employ someone who wasnt suited to your requirements? I have interviewed candidates with 2:1 but had to reject them because they didnt have the qualities we were after.
      In my book its not healthy penalising students the way its being done.Maths is not the be all and end all.

    • U r a clear example of hw stupid mathematicians can be. U were outwitted by non-mathematicians whom u claim have a low reasoning rating. So what justifies yo claim that u reason better than non-mathematicians?

  19. most problems in life are caused by pple who are mathematically naked.big up prof jonso and may this math thing apply to general duty soldiers too.we want brilliant pple nt dunderheads in if u are dull wotosunga dzisimbe uvewo brilliant.

  20. Unfortunately this move is unconstitutional, particularly for students who were already enrolled. There is no way students can be denied the right to pursue studies due to unfair ministerial pronouncement without consulting the affected stakeholders. On recruiting new students colleges can stipulate minimum requirements, including numeracy skills. It is known that not all academic pursuits require high levels of cognitive skills in calculus and mathematics. I therefore urge the Prof to reverse this directive and consult parliament on the way forward. Failure to do so will invite litigation from affected students, activists, human rights defenders and like-minded citizens.

  21. Ndambobvunza asi hapan apindura. If Moyo was so good at Maths, why did he pursue Arts? Its compensatory behaviour, real Maths guru’d in our Unversities never saw a need for such a high handed position, now a POLAD ‘dunderhead’ wants to win legitimacy among the peers. Rovai Maths vakomana, be engineers then come kuIndustry isu vema Arts tokuudzai zvekuita.

  22. This is a blantant miscarriage of justice do u know that the finest and hands on farmers, builders,carpenters,plumbers,mechanic,tailors etc. do not have maths but MATHS dzebasa rawo vanadzo.This policy is retrogressive and this country badly demand hands on people with or without maths to revive this economy .This country is oversubscribed by academics with the subject including the prof. who have not meaningfully contributed to the growth of this country.

  23. i think this must apply to those who are registering now, not back dating, if it is a policy must not affect those who have already doing there programs. and there is need for notification of the people so that they give their views, more so why this was no longer a requirement for the past years please explain.

  24. The Zimbabwean banana cabinet is a master in specializing in irrelevant matters that do not benefit anyone. They derive their strength on the tears and death of Zimbabweans. Recently Prisca Mupfumira and Public Service Commission cut civil servants salaries, Health Services Board suspends hostile doctors,, who told them to step down,, George Charamba threatened to exterminate journalists for saying the truth,,, a lot can be said about the Chaos Faction

  25. It’s a bad policy only serving to confirm that the country is a path to the abyss. Mathematics is not a measure of intelligence. Even commercials can be studied with people who do not have mathematics unless one is doing accounts or finance.

  26. Yaa this is what is called the highest degree of kupererwa. When a parent who has many children some of whom have disabilities starts to shun those with disabilities and favour the able bodied ones hmmmm ma1. Hameno ndiko kutonga kwacho ana Johno tongai zvenyu kusvika Zimbabwe yadonha mapiston. But there is only one day, one day chete gava richadambura musungo. Muchazvifunga mapovo sesuwo vanhu vamuri kukanya day and night pamunodira kunge daga rezvidinha.

  27. Thats NONSENSE, the minister should have his head examined. Thats why Chris ‘modus vivendi’ Mutsvangwa is giving him a torrid time. People were created differently, some are good in mathematics and some are not. PERIOD!

  28. Thats CRAP, the minister should have his head examined. Thats why Chris ‘modus vivendi’ Mutsvangwa is giving him a hard time. People were created differently, some are good in mathematics and some are not. PERIOD!

  29. This was well long over due. Next after 5 years will compulsory basic PC numeracy.

    Well done Prof. Moyo but for those who enrolled when it was not a requirement can take ministry to court.

  30. I think Professor is right, all things being equal one needs maths chete. Am using an on-line Diagnostic Tool called WagonaMaths. Maths is damn easy if one gets to know one’s strengths and weaknesses, misconceptions and finally knowledge gaps. Once i got to know this issues with my maths, everything has changed for the better with my Maths. Am not sure why WagonaMaths is not advertising and marketing this tool. My advice is be objective and look at your challenges in the eye. Where there is a wheel, there is a way, for me WagonaMaths came to my AID.

  31. Ko ane nhamo yei Jonathan Moyo vake vana anodzidzisa kuCape town university kusina mitemo yakadhakwa kudai, vedu vanodzidza muno ndovachaona moto. Zvakaoma kani

  32. Comment…Mathematics is not all that important coz someone needs to study Shona so is there any need fo mathematics .Jonathan’s ideas needs amendment s think of P.O.S.A, AIPA all are Jonathan’s damn shit ideas

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