Will Zanu PF Infighting Affect Free STEM Education?

Teacher, students, computers

Just over a week ago Zimbabweans were excited to read the news that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo had announced that students who elect to do STEM focused subjects (‘sciences’) at public schools for their A’ Levels will have their fees waived.

At the time it was said that the programme would 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.”

Newspaper, radio and television adverts were flighted to advertise the initiative but last week they were callously pulled from state media, ZBC acting chief executive stating that it was an issue of verification (as if ZBC needs to verify something that an advertiser is advertising) and hence they pulled the adverts.

Professor Moyo stated in a recent interview regarding adverts being pulled:

…Charamba has remained on my case on behalf of successionists. Only last Thursday he telephoned the acting CEO at ZBC just before News Hour at night and directed him to pull off STEM ads on ZBC television and ZBC radio stations. I understand he said he was doing this because the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had complained about the ads and he wanted to show “who controls the media in Zimbabwe”.

Can you imagine that? A Permanent Secretary in Information ministry unilaterally sabotaging a government programme, by another ministry, that’s been well-received nationally beyond description. And doing so without reference to any administrative process.

Private media, in the form of ZiFM that was ‘formerly’ owned by Zanu PF MP for Nyanga South Supa Mandiwanzira, waded in by cancelling a STEM interview between Prof. Moyo and no-holds barred interviewer Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa:

Information in the state owned daily (looks like they removed it from their website, but we managed to save it here in PDF), the Herald states that there is a clash between the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (led by Lazarus Dokora) and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry as to who exactly should be spearheading such a program.

From the looks of things, Zanu PF infighting will rule the day and such a program is likely not going to kick off.

Main Image Credit: close-the-gap.org