TEACHERS’ colleges could soon be offering degree programmes under new reforms being considered by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. Higher Education Minister Prof Jonathan Moyo said this during a graduation ceremony for 602 teachers at Nyadire Teachers’ College. “I appreciate the argument that the time has come for our teachers’ colleges to produce degreed teachers and for the lecturers at these colleges to have a Masters Degree if not a Doctorate Degree relevant to their vocation,” he said.
“In this connection, the ministry has its ears wide open to the college’s proposal to transform into some kind of a degree awarding institution and offer a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education as the college’s main qualification.”
The minister said the changes would require a radical review of the curriculum as well as imposing new qualification requirements on lecturers. Enrolment requirements could also be stiffened. Presently, teachers’ colleges are offering diploma and certificate qualifications.
The minister urged teachers to work hard to produce students who are ready to solve problems, and not complain. “The teachers that we groom must be relevant to Zimbabwe and must understand that education is the source of solutions to the country’s challenges. No education, no solution,” he said.
“Those who think that solutions come from politicians are naive and are yet to discover education. Instead of teaching children how to complain about problems they face, a morally
upright teacher should teach them how to solve those problems and such a teacher produces problem solvers.”
Teachers, he said, needed to display a high degree of competence by immersing themselves in what they teach. “It’s often said that those who know do, and those who don’t know teach. “The essence of this prosaic view is that teachers tend to rely on textbooks to teach things they don’t know anything about,” he said.
“The modern teacher who is a key driver for sustainable socio-economic development must have intimate knowledge of what they teach and must be a competent doer with life skills.”
Prof Moyo lauded Nyadire for its contribution to the country’s highly regarded primary education, which has seen the country’s literacy rate consistently ranging between 92 and 96 percent.
“The time has come to consolidate the country’s literacy achievement by ensuring that our teachers colleges produce graduates who are numerate without exception,” he said.
“For this to happen, every tertiary and higher education student must have minimum mathematical skills, which are the necessary bedrock of the new STEM culture being spearheaded by the ministry.
“It’s pleasing that some 1,144 students have gone through the ICT module this year and that 88 students are specialising in Mathematics as their main subject. This is important in line with the ministry’s policy thrust to ensure that no student will be eligible to enrol in tertiary and higher education institutions unless they obtained at least a “C” or better in Mathematics at O-Level.”
University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura hailed the ongoing partnership between the UZ and Nyadire, saying he had confidence in the quality of teachers produced by the institution.
“These graduates aren’t ordinary teachers but a new breed of enterprising and highly trained teachers demanded by the times because we’ve monitored the progress of the graduands throughout the three years of training and approved all their syllabi and examinations,” he said.
“This new breed will not shy away from Technology, Mathematics and Science and they’re ready to take their place in schools and communities as STEM ambassadors.” chronicle