Churches play an immeasurable role in Zimbabwe’s national education system and general human capital development and Government appreciates this role, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
VP Chiwenga said this at the 60th anniversary celebrations for St Ignatius College on the eastern edge of Harare yesterday.
St Ignatius is a Catholic school belonging to a global network of over 800 Jesuit schools and has played an enormous role in the country’s national education fabric, particularly addressing the huge disparity in quality of education between settlers and the then marginalised Africans 60 years ago.
Yesterday, the college marked 60 years of existence and service to Zimbabwe and also unveiled plans to undertake expansion so girls are enrolled from Form One, right up to Form Six as opposed to the current setup where girls are only enrolled for Advanced Level studies, although there is a girl’s school on the Chishawasha campus.
VP Chiwenga, himself a devout Catholic, attended the celebrations accompanied by his wife Colonel Miniyothabo Chiwenga and expressed gratitude for the role the church plays in the delivery of quality education for students.
“I am deeply honoured to be here today as your guest of honour at this auspicious occasion, the closing celebration of the 60th anniversary of this institution,” said VP Chiwenga.
“The history of education in Zimbabwe would be incomplete if it does not mention the important role that the church has played as partners with Government. Mission and church schools have contributed immensely to the human capital development of our nation and especially the once marginalised communities.
“Today, I want to appreciate the efforts of the church, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and their collaborators for their tireless and selfless dedication on the education and development of our people for over a century.
“I am encouraged to note that the College continues to devote itself to leading in the provision of transformative 21st century education that aims at developing holistic men and women who become creative and critical thinkers.”
VP Chiwenga encouraged the college to continue using technology development enabling teaching that will produce fit for purpose human capital that will champion President Mnangagwa’s rapid economic development thrust.
As the country gears towards harmonised elections on August 23, VP Chiwenga implored the church to echo President Mnangagwa’s call for peace and also called on preachers to encourage their membership to vote resoundingly for Zanu PF and all its candidates so that it continues to foster community and national development.
VP Chiwenga took the occasion to donate US$60 000 to the college for use towards its expansion.
St Ignatius stands tall as one of the schools that have played an important role in the development of Zimbabwe’s human capital development, especially before independence when the black populace was discriminated against by the settler regime.
Some of the luminaries who passed through the school include Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Frederick Shava, the late Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and several personalities in industry, academia and other sectors of the economy and society.