THE discord between the Higher Education ministry and the Primary and Secondary Education ministry over who should be in charge of the recently-launched science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) policy is senseless, misdirected and disastrous for a country seeking the development of Stem skills, as a key part of our long-term human capital objectives.
In fact, this intolerable selfishness on the part of some of the country’s so-called leaders, masquerading as dedicated government ministers, must be stopped forthwith.
This is one area the majority of Zimbabweans believe Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo is in the right direction despite his penchant to pick up unnecessary fights with not only his political adversaries, but also journalists, in particular from the private Press.
If indeed Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora is the supposed driver of the Stem initiative, then it is unfortunate because this warfare speaks to someone whose priorities are somewhat misplaced.
Either that or they are both simply trying to score cheap political points. Zimbabweans believe that none between Moyo and Dokora, and their departments, has the sole prerogative to promote Stem, as it remains a national project designed to provide key deliverables in the shortest possible period through collaborative effort.
It must be made clear that Zimbabweans have nothing to do with the ongoing internecine succession fights in Zanu PF, since they are void of national aspirations. Hence, any politician – aspiring or seasoned – who does not understand that is simply doomed.
Bureaucratic bungling has never been useful to the development of any country, and so we find it very annoying and unacceptable for our so-called political leaders to conspire to disadvantage the suffering majority for selfish gains and personal egos.
While it is laudable for government to pay full school and boarding fees for all students in public schools who register for Stem subjects this year, there is need to look at the plight of those at rural schools. It is the lack of commitment by bureaucrats that has derailed fantastic ideas from developing into the next big things, resulting in the current poor state of the economy, misrule and dictatorship,thereby undermining the country’s independence.The two ministries should simply collaborate for Stem to bear results.
Indeed, Stem is not a panacea to Zimbabwe’s myriad of challenges, but if the country is to progress there is need for President Robert Mugabe to crack the whip on unruly elements keen to see this project fail simply because of differing opinions.
Although Moyo appears to cross everybody’s path, he got it right this time to set the foundation for the country’s human capital development. It does not make sense for government departments to sabotage each other. In any case, for as long as one is not the appointing authority, they cannot choose who to work with on any government initiative. Theirs is to collaborate and deliver for the majority to, at least, realise their aspirations.
Instead of fighting over what role to play in Stem, Moyo must resolve the fate of hundreds of tertiary students, who have reportedly dropped out of colleges after failing to register for examinations, following an order to stop admitting those without mathematics at Ordinary Level.
This is a people issue that needs an urgent solution. Zimbabweans expect government to give a waiver to such students, who were already enrolled at various colleges before the introduction of Stem.
Government should have foreseen that its directive was problematic, given the fact that dropping students that had already started their courses would disadvantage them. A moratorium on the directive to these thousands of students should be put in place. There is also no need for a blanket application of this directive.The students should be allowed to register to write their examinations and proceed to the next stage of their course, regardless. Government must stop this kneejerk approach to national issues.