Harsh Economy Jeopardising STEM Initiative In Rural Masvingo

By Johannes Chin’ombe

Bikita, September 26, 2016 – CASH-STRAPPED schools in rural Masvingo province say they were failing to meet Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) standards set by government due the prevailing harsh economic climate in the country.

STEM is a curriculum recently adopted by government based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Speaking at a science book handover ceremony by Bikita Minerals to Bikita Fashu High School, the acting district schools inspector, Chioneso Maradza implored companies to help schools located in their areas achieve the STEM standards.

“What Bikita Minerals has done here will take this school far in achieving their STEM goals. We also urge more companies to aid rural schools in having material that will see them fully enhance science subjects as they are usually disadvantaged as compared to boarding and urban schools.

“The situation that lack of resources is affecting rural schools in Masvingo to meet STEM standards is quite worrying. It will be therefore great to hear one day that enrolment of science related subjects at tertiary institutions is receiving a large number of pupils from rural communities than the current case where most of them come from urban and developed rural settings,” Maradza said.

“There is also great need for science teachers by the government of Zimbabwe. So even if the government has stopped recruiting new teachers, they are in dire need of science teachers who were particularly trained to teach science subjects unlike the current scenario where teachers from irrelevant subjects like Shona are teaching sciences simply because there is a shortage of science teachers,” she added.

Loads of Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry textbooks were donated to the school by the sole lithium mine in Zimbabwe.

Added Bikita Fashu headmaster, Hepias Madziro, “Achieving the STEM goals was almost impossible because of financial constraints being faced by the school. We had no money to buy books as have been donated here. Am also glad to announce that the company has promised to refurbish our science laboratory in furthering their support for advancing the study of science subjects at this school. They are doing us a great service indeed. They have become our shadow responsible authority.”

Also present at the event was Bikita Minerals Chief Executive Officer Grant Hudson and Bikita Minerals Mine Manager, David Mwanza.