Minister: Resource endowed Zimbabwe has no excuse for poverty

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By Midlands Correspondent

PRIMARY and Secondary Education Minister Paul Mavhima says Zimbabwe has no excuse to being a poor nation while sitting on vast natural resources it could easily convert to wealth.

Speaking while presiding over a provincial prize giving ceremony at a Kwekwe school, Mavhima also blamed the country’s education system he said unnecessarily created individuals who did not see the value of their natural endowment.

“We as Zimbabweans are fortunate in that we sit in a land that is more endowed in resources than any other in the world,” said the Zanu PF official.

“But we have demonstrated an inability to fully exploit those resources for the benefit of this nation. We are an unnecessarily poverty stricken nation because we have everything that is required to move to a higher level,” he said.

Mavhima drew parallels with South Korea, a country whose government he said has managed to create value for its people.

“Recently, I was in South Korea. It’s a country that is a quarter of land in terms of land mass. It’s a country that has virtually no resources at all to talk about. There don’t have oil, agriculture or anything. The only resource they can think of is probably fish from the sea.

“But also a nation behind us in terms of per capita GDP.

“But today, it is a nation which is the 7th largest economy in the world. It is a nation that produces submarines for the entirety of the globe. Even USA and Russia, the biggest military nations in the world go there for submarines. It had no oil but is the largest exporter of petroleum products,” he said.

Mavhima added that the example of South Korea is a reflection of that it had invested in smartness.

“They invested in an education system that allows them to take resources from other countries and send back the products to those countries at a higher price. Therefore, creating value for its citizens,” he said.

The solution to the problem of under exploitation of resources, Mavhima said, is to have a relevant education system.

“Zimbabwe government seeks to empower all its citizens. The fundamental way of achieving this is by investing in an education that is relevant to the 21st century,” he said.

He spoke of a complete overhaul in the education system through the introduction of a competency based curriculum in 2014.

“What we wanted to do was to make sure that we had an education system that was fit for purpose, an education system that makes this country realise its full potential,” he said.

“The change was to move away from a curriculum that was highly theoretical and moving to the one oriented towards finding attendant problems in our country and therefore creation of employment.

“This is the essence of the competency based curriculum. We can’t attain vision 2030 without transforming our curriculum.”

Mavhima said Zimbabwe four decades since attainment of independence, the country still presided over a colonial system curriculum.

“Our curriculum was more than a 190 years old and was speaking to the colonial system. The curriculum was bent on making a native of this country a job seeker in industry and on farms and in mines that were owned by the settlers,” he said.