Zim education now meaningless

HARARE - Thousands of students from the University of Zimbabwe graduated yesterday but a dark cloud hovered over the celebrations amid indications that many of the graduates are only fuelling the high unemployment rate in the country due to lack of job opportunities.

As per tradition, President Robert Mugabe — as the Chancellor of all State universities — presided over the graduation and it was ironic that the man whose disastrous policies destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy capped the graduates into destitution.

In the past, graduation signified a leap from poverty and the beginning of a new life for young adults who were being initiated into various sectors of the economy. However, owing to the policies of the past 36 years, most local universities and colleges are now producing graduates who are not helping the country to grow economically as they are spending most of their time idling.

Despite the country’s dire economic crisis, which has seen more than 5 000 companies shutting down and over 80 000 people losing their jobs in the past three years alone, Mugabe and his Zanu PF-led government have failed to generate 2,2 million new jobs promised in the run-up to the July 2013 harmonised elections.

Other promises to the electorate included 250 000 low income housing units, 310 public schools and 300 clinics, but struggling ordinary Zimbabweans have seen little, if any, of the promised new jobs with company closures continuing — pushing the unemployment rate to over 85 percent.

Information at hand shows that an estimated 40 000 graduates from universities and other tertiary institutions are annually resorting to vending to make ends meet.

So bad is the economic situation in the country that both Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya and beleaguered Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa have readily and openly admitted to the crisis, with the Treasury Chief suggesting urgent cuts in the number of civil servants in an effort to make government’s wage bill sustainable.

To worsen the situation, both foreign and domestic investors are not coming to the party, blaming the cocktail of policy inconsistencies and failure to protect property rights as the main reasons for their investment boycott.

This is despite the country boasting of vast natural resources, including the second-largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa, the largest alluvial diamond reserves in the world and significant gold, chrome and coal deposits. Under the harsh economic circumstances, an estimated three million Zimbabweans have fled the country to neighbouring and overseas countries to support their families.

From the above facts, it becomes necessary for Mugabe to resign peacefully and hand over power to people with capacity to revive the country’s ailing economy.

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