‘Education 5.0 to catapult Zimbabwe to greater heights’

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

CULTURE, heritage and education are important threads that weave together the fabric of Zimbabwe’s identity, industrialisation and modernisation towards economic growth, peace, equality and poverty eradication, President Mnangagwa has said.

Officially launching a book titled “Re-defining Zimbabwe’s Education System: ED Mnangagwa’s Vision and Transformational Leadership”, which underscores the importance of education for national development, in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the establishment of a robust, relevant and responsive education system would facilitate Zimbabwe’s economic prosperity.

The book launch also dovetails with the theme of the just ended 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union, which the President attended, that was held under the theme “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa”.

In his remarks, President Mnangagwa said the launch of the book underscores the centrality of education as a critical driver to propel Africa’s development, modernisation, industrialisation and indeed prosperity.

“A robust, relevant and responsive education system further facilitates the realisation of the potential of technology and innovation for economic growth, peace, equality and the eradication of poverty.

“Education and knowledge have always been the cornerstone of progress, a beacon of hope and a sustainable pathway to a brighter-prosperous future, including in our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe.

“Since time immemorial, culture, heritage and education have been important threads which weave together the fabric of our identity, industrialisation and modernisation,” he said.

Through the country’s Heritage-Based Education 5.0 model, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic has ushered in a new era of learning, innovation and creativity.

“The publication also serves to elucidate and bring to the fore the confidence we must have in ourselves as Zimbabweans and as an African people.

“Through the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 Model we have ushered in a new era of learning, innovation and creativity. This is further exhibited by the integration of our abundant natural resources and rich heritage, with the innovative tools and technologies to produce goods and services,” President Mnangagwa said.

Heritage, he said, is not merely a relic of the past but rather evidence of the country’s resilience, wisdom and values.

“Equally, our heritage has never been a mere relic of the past; it is a living testament to our resilience, wisdom and shared values.

“Guided by the philosophy Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa, inonamatirwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswe, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo, we have intricately interwoven our education and heritage to re-define and re-shape the future of our country”.

President Mnangagwa said innovation and ingenuity have always been in Zimbabweans’ DNA as evidenced by innovations such as the Great Zimbabwe monument.

“By reflecting on the Dzimbahwe and Mutapa civilisations, we are reminded that innovation and ingenuity have always been a part of who we are, as a people and the descendants of the great Munhumutapa.

“Hence, under my administration, the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 model is not just an educational philosophy; it is a transformational and mind-shifting approach that empowers our people to appreciate their foundational roots, understand their place in the world and envision a modern future,” he said.

“This approach recognises that education is not just about acquiring knowledge, but about nurturing a deep sense of self-belief, innovativeness and pride in one’s country.

“The philosophy is therefore a critical foundation upon which to build cutting-edge solutions to address the pressing development challenges as well as harness the immense opportunities of our time.”

The President said Zimbabwe’s educational framework would produce graduates who can produce goods and services needed across the country’s socio-economic divide.

Zimbabwe’s prowess as an agriculture and mining-driven economy, he added, should thus be reflected in the country’s educational system.

President Mnangagwa also challenged relevant stakeholders to leverage Artificial Intelligence as well as initiate flawless relations between primary and secondary educational institutions with those of higher learning.

“However, we are not an island, hence it is critically important that we remain cognisant of the opportunities and expanded scope brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Our young people must be equipped to leverage on Artificial Intelligence, to propel our national development. For the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 Model to remain entrenched in our education system, there must be seamless linkages between the primary and secondary ecosystems and those of our institutions of higher learning.

“I, therefore, challenge ministries, departments and agencies responsible for education and stakeholders across the board, to work with greater collaboration and synergies. You must be complementary in your approaches.”

Given climate change and shifts in the global order, the President said it is essential for Zimbabwe to safeguard its heritage.

“To this end, climate change, shifts in the global order and fast changing technological advancements along with the mutating social and moral beliefs entail that we shift paradigms with regards our development discourse, more so in the global south and Africa in particular.

“Our education systems must embrace, safeguard and promote our heritage while integrating our heritage with science, innovation and technology. This philosophy will guarantee that our young generation and communities have a strong and solid foundation upon which to build.

“We have an onerous duty to ensure that our young people are equipped to face the future with confidence, creativity, resilience and adaptation capacities,” he said.

President Mnangagwa charged those in the education sector to initiate new ways of thinking and not just revert to “old and known methods and beliefs”.

“We must break down the temptation of reverting to the old and known methods and beliefs. I urge researchers, scholars, educators and institutions to develop a new body of knowledge,” he said.

“New techniques must be implemented to reflect our unique national character and realities. Truth or knowledge can never be universalised or attributed to a singular, abstract narrative.

“As such, scholarly work, across all fields of study must be rooted in African methods of inquiry, analysis and discussion, while advancing our world views and perspectives. Let us be proud of who we are as an African people and our African-rooted literal works should be a tool to encourage our young people to be critical thinkers. They should also be capacitated to engage with communities and advance the public good, national interests as well as overarching development objectives of our respective countries.”

President Mnangagwa commended the authors, researchers and educators for a job well done in compiling the book.

“Let us all embark on this journey of Heritage-Based Education 5.0 with a sustained unity of purpose and determination. We must seize every opportunity to redefine our future, empower the youth and women as well as safeguard the invaluable gains brought about by the education sector and largely our independence, freedom and sovereignty.

“Together let us look forward as we build a brighter future that is anchored on our rich heritage, the use of African knowledge systems and experiences leveraging on the advantages of science, technology and innovation,” he said.

The launch was attended by Vice President Kembo Mohadi and 13 Cabinet ministers as well as Belarus’ Minister of Education and other Government officials.

The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, said a strategic literature development programme had been initiated as a key element to operationalise Education 5.0.

“Education 5.0 is our design as enunciated by you (President Mnangagwa) for industrialisation and modernisation of our motherland,” he said.

One of the authors of the book, Professor Mandivamba Rukuni, said the book was just the beginning as the country’s education sector continues to be redefined.

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