Jonathan Moyo Maths Demand Plunges Zimbabwe Polytechnics Into Crisis
The ‘O’ Level English and Maths mandatory entry requirement introduced for all courses at the beginning of this year has caused serious crisis as enrolments at Polytechnics plunged to 40% with some departments now closed, a survey by The Mirror has established.
Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said representations have been made to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Jonathan Moyo to relax his October 2016 directive for the Maths entry requirement but without success. They said Polytechnic allow students to sit for Maths
while they pursue their courses particularly in the Commerce Division.
Efforts to get a comment from Moyo were fruitless as his mobile went unanswered most of the day on Wednesday.
Sources also said recruitment for the May 2017 intake look even worse as there is little response from adverts placed in the media. John Dewa, a director in the Ministry of Higher Education declined to make a comment over the phone.
Masvingo Polytechnic has closed its Record and Library course and sent its four students to Gweru Polytechnic which has seven students so that together the students from the two institutions can make a class. Music has also been shut
down in some colleges until further notice.
There was no requirement for Maths for most courses in the Commerce
Division until the directive was issued. Enrolment plummeted and the most affected courses are Cosmetology, Textiles, Purchasing and Supply, Secretarial and Marketing.
These courses have either been shut down or they are running with as little as four students per class when the minimum number for a class should be 34 students.
“We have a very serious enrolment crisis in all colleges. Many young people have lost the opportunity to pursue careers in life simply because they cannot get a grade C in Maths. We strongly feel that in some courses Maths is not that
critical and conditions should be relaxed to allow all Zimbabweans the right to education,” said one senior administrator.
Sources also said that colleges have taken to aggressive marketing of their programmes like embarking on road shows, advertising in the media and visiting schools but the result has been poor.
The sources however, said the situation is not as bad in Divisions like Engineering and Sciences that have always demanded Maths.
Other sources said the situation is compounded by the general economic
situation where many parents have no money to pay school fees for their children. The directive read, “No students will be recruited to National Diploma
Level without O Level Mathematics”