Sikhanyiso Ndlovu's world falling apart?

HARARE - After his political career started crumbling with the loss of a parliamentary seat in 2008 and subsequent dropping from Cabinet, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu fell back to what he said was the love of his life — education.

Running a string of colleges countrywide under his well-known Zimbabwe Distance Education Centre (Zdeco), the former Education and Information minister retained a measure of respect, thanks to his involvement with Zdeco.

But, just like his political career, his status as an educationist of note seems to be tumbling and the decision by a fellow Zanu PF comrade to deregister some of his colleges is not a good sign for Ndlovu, a soft-spoken and generally likeable character.

Ndlovu was fuming yesterday after Ignatius Chombo, the acting minister of Tertiary Education announced in a statement that he had shut down the former minister’s colleges because they failed to make the standard for institutions that could be trusted with “offering quality education”.

According to the ministry, Ndlovu’s colleges in Gweru and Mutare were closed down after inspections showed they were operating illegally. His other colleges in Harare and Bulawayo were not affected.

According to a notice published by the ministry of Higher Education, Ndlovu’s colleges, along with 152 other privately-owned institutions were operating in contravention of the Manpower Planning and Development Act.

Ndlovu yesterday said his education empire was still intact.

“I have not received any communication from the ministry that some of my education centres have been closed.  I have been operating them since independence in 1980 without any problems. A number of professionals including doctors, nurses, teachers, business executives and lawyers have passed through my colleges,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said he had a cordial working relationship with the two education ministries, claiming his institutions were the largest examination centres in the country.

“More than one million students from across the political divide have passed through my colleges.  How can one ministry of education close them down yet I am legally registered. I don’t know where this is coming from,” said Ndlovu.

“Only last week I was with President Mugabe and minister of Education David Coltart and several senior officials from the ministry during the graduation ceremony at Bindura University and nobody raised a thing about my colleges. Right now I am in Bulawayo inspecting the examinations that are underway at Zdeco,” said Ndlovu, who is also the Zanu PF politburo secretary for education.

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