GOVERNMENT is sitting on a social time-bomb that poses a threat to national security through its erratic funding of the education sector, Jonathan Moyo has warned.
Moyo, who is Higher and Tertiary, Science and Technology minister, told the Zanu PF annual conference in Victoria Falls Saturday that “as part of the Stem [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] revolution” tertiary education institutions would be forced to stop enrolling students without Maths and Science passes at O’ Level.
In his presentation to the conference, Moyo reiterated his call that polytechnic lecturers should have master’s degrees while universities would only accept lecturers with doctorate degrees or the equivalent.
“There is no funding of PSIP [Public Sector Investment Programme] projects and no funding of operational budgets to cover critical areas such as research. This situation is dangerous not least because it has far-reaching implications on national security,” Moyo warned.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a debilitating economic and political crisis that analysts have warned could snowball into social upheaval as citizens struggle for scarce jobs and resources.
While President Robert Mugabe’s government scored highly in social delivery, particularly education and health services in the 80s the gains made in the early decades of independence have been eroded by the former guerrilla leader’s “scorched earth” policies that brought a once thriving economy to its knees.
The Zanu PF government’s education and health for all policies that saw poor students having their education funded by the government have been abandoned and authorities have been fighting running battles with student bodies and activists over university and college grants.
Moyo told delegates that underfunding of the education sector had stalled progress towards empowerment, adding that even in areas government had availed funds, the situation was dire.
“Lack of government funding of higher and tertiary education science and technology development has become an untold threat to the consolidation of the people’s power through ZimAsset,” he said.