Fostered investment in Zimbabwe’s tertiary education key to economic development

 

Wide-ranging reforms are necessitated to transform the government’s education vision into a concrete set of programs and projects to fast-track economic recovery and reduce socioeconomic gaps, the Zimbabwe Higher and Tertiary Education Sector Analysis Report found.

Developed by the World Bank and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Department (MHTEISTD), the report acknowledges the ongoing reform efforts that the department has embarked on under its Education 5.0 strategy to revitalize higher and tertiary education through the five pillars of Teaching, Research, Community Service, Innovation, and Industrialization.

The report also finds that throughout the past decade, Zimbabwe has sustained a high level of public education spending, including spending on tertiary education, relative to the size of its economy.

The macro economic challenges in that last two years have however seen significant decline in education spending both as a percentage of total government expenditure and as a percentage of gross domestic product.

“The government’s longstanding commitment to education spending reflects the importance of human-capital development as a national cultural value.

As we are fully cognizant of the ever-changing world in which we operate we now seek to transform our Tertiary Education to meaningfully impact economic productivity and workforce skills development,” said Fanuel Tagwira, Permanent Secretary, MHTIESTD.

The education analysis underscores the recent World Bank Digital Economy Diagnostic for Zimbabwe launched in May, which revealed that Zimbabwe is facing a significant skills deficit in science and technology-linked job roles, including digital skills.

Studies on the digital transformation of the African economy stress the importance for Zimbabwe of further developing its science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

“Digital economies are energized when there is a sizeable population with basic digital skills and a critical mass of tech-savvy skilled personnel and advanced specialists that help to adapt and diffuse digital technologies across different sectors. Therefore, Zimbabwe requires focused effort on developing a digitally competent workforce and digitally literate citizens who could reap the benefits that the digital transformation can bring,” said Mukami Kariuki, World Bank Country Manager, Zimbabwe.

The report also assesses the performance of Zimbabwe’s tertiary education system in the context of the country’s development challenges.

It provides a comprehensive diagnosis of sectoral issues as the basis for detailed policy recommendations including a sustainable financing strategy and appropriate implementation arrangements.

The report also evaluates the sector’s ability to utilize inputs efficiently and produce the outcomes targeted by policymakers. It highlights key reform measures designed to improve the system’s performance.

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