Psychomotor skills for economic growth

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ENHANCING the infusion of psychomotor concept into education will increase employment and eradicate poverty in line with the indigenisation and empowerment thrust, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Addressing captains of industry at a workshop organised by the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor activities in education, Josiah Hungwe, said there was need to correct the education system which is failing to address the socio-economic needs of the country.
He said after an exploratory assessment of psychomotor activities at selected education institutions, the missing link was the identification and development of psychomotor skills aligned to the needs of the economy and meeting the demands of the formal and informal employment opportunities.
“Currently limited employment opportunities have left millions of youth stuck in the vicious poverty circle,” said Hungwe said.
“There is need to develop an education curriculum that values gifts and talents and takes cognisance of the services and development needs of the country.
“Today’s economy places value on entrepreneurial, vocational, technical and e-learning skills.”
Hungwe drew examples from countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, China, India and Taiwan that have proved that the psychomotor component of education and training is a major factor in the growth of the informal sector.
He, however, said his Ministry was facing implementation challenges as there is a fragmented approach to psychomotor skills training and development.
“There is the challenge of change of mind-set because of the colonial legacy that relegated vocational and technical education to the less academically gifted students and an education system that confined blacks to inferior education programmes,” he said.
“Those who have access to the formal education not only denigrate productive manual work, but also lack the necessary skills for the same.”
The Rhodesian education system, segregatory in nature had the F1 and the F2 system that covered both academic and practical subjects.
The F1 stream was concerned mainly with the psycho aspect, that pursued academic subjects while the F2, although they had a bit of academic subjects, largely pursued practical subjects (the motor aspect) that taught life skills.
The F2s, which taught mainly psychomotor skills, was designed to confine Africans to the non-academic field to create a pool of labour for farms and industry.
Hungwe said his portfolio was taking into account recommendations from the 1999 Presidential Commission of Inquiry into education and training.
The Dr Caiphas Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry Report called for the overhaul of the education system which it described as academically good, but irrelevant to indigenous Zimbabweans.
According to the commission, education should be for life and self-employment, not just an academic exercise.
It proposed the creation of a system that would give scholars an opportunity to concentrate on subjects they are good at and match them with employment needs.
Meanwhile in an interview on the sidelines of the worskshop, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president, Charles Msipa said Zimbabweans must stop using financial and resource constraints as an excuse for failure to transform the economy, but rather focus more on developing the right attitude when implementing Government programmes and policies in order to turn around the economy.
He said while he acknowledged that resources are a challenge, it is important to focus on the positives, rather than dwell on the negative.
“The private sector and Government should up the tempo in order to review the country’s educational curricula and address the skills requirement for industry in line with the dynamic global economic trends,” said Msipa.
“The stage has already been set with the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) having already embarked on an exercise to identify current and future skills required by industry.”
Msipa said on their part, industry is ready to invest in skills and skills training in order for the economy to become more competitive in spite of the economic challenges facing the country, emphasising that the need for skills development is not an option, but a requirement.
Zimbabwe, said Msipa, must learn from international best practices, but keep in mind the need to device and develop a model that reflects the Zimbabwean circumstances and situations while taking advantage of the country’s solid educational and literacy foundation.

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