Govt starts offering STEM scholarships for teachers

Govt starts offering STEM scholarships for teachers
Published: 20 February 2018 (246 Views)
The Government has started offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships towards the training of science teachers at the country's state universities and teachers' colleges.

This follows the suspension of STEM scholarships for Advanced level pupils which has been described as a risky investment.

Addressing academics at Solusi University last Friday, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said they were extending the STEM initiative to the training of science teachers who are in demand countrywide.

"We are in the process of encouraging the training of science in our universities and colleges, especially teaching of science teachers so that they can go and teach properly in the schools. So we have asked Mkoba Teachers' College, Joshua Nkomo Teachers' College and Masvingo Teachers' College to start taking secondary science teachers and we are going to support those teachers," said Prof Murwira.

He said the training of science teachers is a worthy investment.

"So we will give them scholarships, because one teacher teaches many students and many generations but one student at 'A' level we don't know whether they are going to pass or not. So it's risky investment which borders on the side of tsotsis," he said.

Prof Murwira said the move to train teachers and suspend 'A' level scholarships came out of the realisation that the ministry was extending beyond its mandate.

"That's the way we want to take the STEM programme. The STEM scholarship programme was a programme for 'A' level students but I said I think we are doing an over-reach.

"We are a Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Zimdef is basically for post high school, to teach people in industrial colleges as well as teach people in colleges, universities," he said.

"What we do here is we produce teachers and send them to primary and secondary schools to produce raw materials for us so that we have more students".

He said teachers who enroll at universities would all be supported at the rate of State universities so that the support is the same for everyone.

Prof Murwira said besides supporting apprenticeships once again, the STEM initiative was also going to support the construction of science laboratories in underprivileged communities countrywide. He added that Government was willing to work with private universities and also include them in various projects the ministry is undertaking.

Solusi University Vice Chancellor Prof Joel Musvosvi said the university was facing a number of challenges due to the economic climate chief among them failure by students to pay fees.

Prof Musvosvi said the university was now establishing a specific mandate as it did not have one since inception.

"At the time of its establishment, the institution was not given a specific mandate; it was to serve as a general purpose university to serve the interests of the church and nation.

"There are current discussions with the current body to establish a specific mandate. The areas of health and wellness express as a very a strong pillar for the Seventh Day Adventist church and the mandate maybe devolved in this particular area and discussion is underway," said Prof Musvosvi.

The Seventh Day Adventist church run institution has five faculties namely Arts, Business Administration, Education, Science and Technology, Theology and Religious studies

Prof Musvosvi pleaded with the minister to help in engaging relevant authorities to repair the bad road network leading to the university.

The strip road to the university is in a bad state and poses great challenges especially for small vehicles to navigate.

After touring Solusi University, Prof Murwira proceeded to the United College of Education (UCE).

- online

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