There will be free education for all pupils in public schools who will register for science subjects when they enrol for Advanced level this year, with Government paying for their full school and boarding fees.
The move is meant to promote the learning of science technology, engineering and mathematics which are now known by the abbreviation STEM and are being promoted through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
The ministry has since launched a multimedia outreach programme to encourage pupils who took their O-Level examinations in 2015 and who in their results got a Grade of at least a “C” in Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry to take a combination of the STEM subjects at A-Level this year.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said in a statement yesterday that all high schools that register full Lower Six STEM classes this year will stand a chance to win a state-of-the-art bus and a cash prize of $100 000.
“The ministry will pay full school and boarding fees for all students in public schools who register for STEM subjects in 2016,” he said.
“In the same vein, all Lower Six students in all high schools who register for STEM subjects in 2016 will stand a chance to win a trip of a life time to Microsoft and other Silicon Valley STEM companies in the United States of America (there will be 10 winners) or a state-of-the-art STEM laptop (100 winners) or a state-of-the-art iPad (100 winners).”
Prof Moyo called on 2015 O-Level students with a Grade of “C” or better in STEM subjects to participate in “this exciting opportunity by ensuring that they register for a combination of Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry for their Lower Six in 2016”.
“In the same vein, parents or guardians and schools with affected students are encouraged to provide their parental and institutional support respectively, to ensure that this great opportunity is not missed,” he said.
Prof Moyo said the objectives of the multimedia outreach programme were to increase the number of STEM students who will enrol in STEM degree programmes at the country’s universities in 2018 and to stimulate interest in Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry as STEM subjects.
He said the programme will promote STEM careers in response to Zim-Asset’s human capital objectives and to develop and strain STEM skills that are critically needed for the country’s new industrialisation thrust.
“In September 2013, and as a backdrop to this multimedia initiative, His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, introduced the STEM revolution through the merging of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education with that of Science and Technology Development, with the latter becoming the foundation of higher and tertiary education in the country,” said Prof Moyo.
“There is solid evidence that the fastest growing and highest earning careers in future will be in STEM fields. Available evidence supports the view that currently sustainable socio-economic transformation is driven by investing in STEM disciplines.
“Employees and employers will need to utilise STEM skills in industrialising the economy, addressing issues of unemployment and in empowering the young through promotion of science and innovation.”
Government has embarked on a defined path to promote industrialisation and beneficiation and value addition of minerals as aspects of the economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
President Mugabe managed to awaken Africa to the promotion of industrialisation as the chairperson of the African Union and the continental body as a clear vision of having industrialised by 2063.
While he was the sadc chairperson between 2014 and 2015, President Mugabe put the industrialisation agenda on the map and throughout his tenure worked under a theme which included industrialisation, value addition and beneficiation.