Industrial attachment for technical college lecturers

MUTARE - Government has expressed dissatisfaction at the quality of skills being churned out by technical colleges, and called on lecturers to go for industrial attachment.

Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa said polytechnics should move towards producing high-end engineering technologists with the ability to adapt, re-engineer and even copy imported technologies.

“Polytechnics have concentrated for some time on training low-end skills with production mainly of artisans and technicians. The artisans’ role has always been to repair, maintain, install and service machinery.

“…a shift should be made to focus on the production of high-end skills through the training of engineering technologists to ensure the adaptation, re-engineering and reverse engineering of imported technologies,” Gandawa said.

He said these would also be able to transform ideas into patentable technologies.

“This is the centrepiece of any successful industrialisation strategy.”

He said his ministry was in the process of carrying out a national skills audit that would inform the nature of skills training institutions would need to focus on in supporting industrialisation and modernisation.

Gandawa said lecturers should also go on industrial attachment if they are to produce technicians that are relevant to the needs.

“Lecturing staff must attach themselves to industry to acquire requisite skills that will allow them to produce a competent and relevant graduate because technology in industry is fast changing.

“The ministry will soon make it mandatory, through policy, for all staff to undergo industrial attachment as conditions of their employment,” he said.

He also challenged them to upgrade their academic studies as polytechnics are going to be moving towards offering technological degree programmes.

Gandawa expressed concern over the low uptake of engineering courses.

“The fact that only 38 females out of 264 students are graduating in engineering is worrisome. Concerted efforts should be made if we are to address this problem.”

College principal Poniso Watema said the college was deliberately taking a bias towards STEM programmes with 56,8 percent of the 716 graduands being artisans, technicians and technologists.

Comments (1)

Mr Gandawa, although your idea is a good one there are two points you seem to have missed, firstly one cannot just copy or reenginner other people's technologies without breaking international law because they are normally patented and secondly, new engineering technologies require vast investment in Research and Development which our government lacks.

Jonso - 29 August 2017

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