Zimbabwe hit by shortage of lecturers in varsities

Students in Africa University's Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources listen to a lecture by Walter Manyangarirwa. Students were on campus and in class during the university's board of directors meeting and the installation of the new vice chancellor. Photo by Vicki Brown, UMNS

HARARE – Zimbabwe has been hit by a shortage of university lecturers, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has revealed.

By Blessings Mashaya

Presenting a report on the implementation of Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) at the just-ended Zanu PF annual conference, Moyo said the country was failing to adequately meet the needs of the country’s 21 universities, out of which four are new.

“They have a combined enrolment of 89 000 students. Our universities face a number of critical challenges that include: inability to meet their wage bills and operating costs, shortage of qualified teaching staff and inadequate learning and research facilities, inability by parents or guardians to pay tuition and other fees; and dysfunctional links between the universities and national policy priorities, along with the needs of society and industry,” Moyo said.
The universities are also facing student and staff accommodation problems.

“These challenges are getting priority attention under the ZimAsset banner of Stem263. Steps are being taken to ensure that universities are relevant to the solution of national policy challenges and meet the training and research needs of society and industry.”

Moyo’s sentiments come as government has frozen the recruitment of employees and promotions in the civil service, as part of its staff rationalisation exercise in line with recommendations of the Civil Service Report of 2015.

The broke Zanu PF government carried out a civil service audit last year which revealed massive duplication of duties in government and agreed to implement a raft of measures.

Among the recommendations was a staff rationalisation exercise and reducing the salary bill which is gobbling at least 85 percent of revenue that is being collected monthly.

Moyo also said all polytechnics are set to offer degree programmes.

“Zimbabwe has eight polytechnics with an enrolment of 21 000 students. While their programmes have been generally training artisans at National Certificate and Diploma levels, some of them are also offering Bachelor of Technology degrees under the auspices of the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).

“As a ZimAsset response to Zimbabwe’s quest for industrialisation, polytechnics will leave the training of artisans to Industrial Training and Trade Testing Centres, while they will transform into degree-offering institutions that train technologists under the banner of Stem263. – Daily News

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