Coltart defends Mugabe

HARARE - David Coltart, the former Education minister, has praised President Robert Mugabe for prioritising practical subjects in the education curriculum, saying it was long overdue.

This comes as Mugabe has been forced to explain that  his new controversial minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education was tasked with reviving practical subjects in schools to equip pupils with “life skills.”

Coltart told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe was spot-on in giving primacy to vocational training, as this was a missing link in the educational sector.

“I am very pleased that the president is prioritising practical subjects. I tried reviewing the education curriculum when I was still a minister but there was no political will to support my efforts,” Coltart said.

“I am now happy that Mugabe is providing this political will. His position on practical subjects is very correct and important because the issue was one which faced the Education sector.”

He said although the ministry of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education has an important mandate, he felt that mandate could have been housed under the ministry of Education.

“If you look closely, my ministry was split into three and this drains resources. As a nation we could have done with one ministry,” Coltart said.

The appointment of Josiah Hungwe, a longtime Mugabe loyalist, as the Psychomotor minister in an already bloated Cabinet had Zimbabweans reaching for their dictionaries to learn a term for coordination between the mind and body.

Even Hungwe was unable to describe his job and asked for more time to reply in a Parliament question and answer session after he had been in the post for three weeks. He could not tell lawmakers what he had been doing at work in that time, records of the session show.

In an interview with a local daily, Mugabe described the need to promote what he called psychomotor skills that would help procure jobs for less academically-gifted students.

Hungwe would work alongside the main ministries of Education and Science and Technology, he said.

“We will have to co-opt quite a number of educational experts working under the minister of State without disorganising the smooth running of schools,” Mugabe said.

Coltart said the government should continue prioritising vocational training because it contributes to economic success.

“The long-term sustainable development and stability of Zimbabwe is dependent on us restoring excellence to education and, importantly, in making it relevant to the future needs of our nation,” Coltart said.

“Whilst we will always need doctors, lawyers, teachers and accountants we also desperately need good mechanics, farmers, electricians and computer technicians — that will only happen when our education system is geared to train children with those practical skills and talents — and that in turn will only happen when there is a better balance in the curriculum between academic and vocational subjects.”
— Additional reporting by AP

Comments (8)

Back to Group A and Group B schools, with their kids doing courses taking them into classy professions while ours go for carpentry and metalwork and dressmaking. Shame the devil.

watik - 9 October 2013

It is very interesting to note the following: "I tried reviewing the education curriculum when I was still a minister but there was no political will to support my efforts,” Coltart said. But now the same political powers (Mugabe and Company) have seized on Coltart's ideas (of developing psychomotor skills) and he showers Mugabe with praise.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri - 9 October 2013

clifford. the zanu guys always dont want give praise where it is due. it shows how well the mdc could have worked had they been given a chance by the people of zimbabwe for me who dont think when it comes to voting. they are not mature enough. anywhere all that mugabe is doing is bringing back what was always there and smith had applied well although it was racial then. remember the f2 high schools. a number of successful guys in our country now went through that system

sammy - 9 October 2013

Your headline is misleading. Coltart is acknowledging that emphasis on practicals is long overdue as it was something that he tried to do but was not supported by Mugabe et al. He however says “If you look closely, my ministry was split into three and this drains resources. As a nation we could have done with one ministry,” Coltart said. Thats hardly defending Mugabe is it?

Lt General - 9 October 2013

in zim ther wil be no education minster so excellent like coltart i felt very badly on his defeat tho i ddnt support his party

disko - 9 October 2013

@Clifford Chitupa Its not Coltart's idea being implemented but recommendations from the "Nziramasanga Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training"

Ngaaende Ngaaende - 9 October 2013

Coltart is going about claiming credit for other people's work and efforts. Someone should sue him. Only the other day he was claiming credit for changes in the nation's economic fortunes that cascaded to schools. Now he claims as his legacy the changes in curriculum that we stalled by their political adventures. It does seem, does it not, that Coltart is having trouble adjusting in Byo and perhaps is praying to Mugabe for some relevance. May he never see Harare again.

Mutongi Gava - 10 October 2013

I said it and tried it at Masiyephambili school, introducing carpentry. I had the old F 1 and F 2 schools idea. In my speech at the official openning of Masiyephambili juniour I did say that we had abandoned something that the smith regime did well.

Eugene Matikiti - 27 October 2013

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