At least 10 outstanding ‘A’ level students drawn from all the Zimbabwean provinces under the Science and Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development will tomorrow leave for the Silicon Valley, USA to familiarize themselves with the world’s leading technologies.
It was a fun filled send-off as parents and school heads bid farewell to the students who will experience the trending technologies at the world’s largest technology hub.
Kudakwashe Pembere Assistant Editor
Addressing a Silicon Valley Send Off gathering at the Harare Polytechnic College, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa said the chosen leaving tomorrow will they will be mentored at the New York State University.
“Upon arrival, every student will be attached to a mentor at the University of Buffalo otherwise known as State University of New York), covering key STEM disciplines such as energy, bio pharmaceuticals, ICT, engineering , and entrepreneurship.
“This is meant to open a wide range of STEM careers that can be exposed in their journey of education in preparation for jobs of the future,” he said.
This visit is a working visit envisaged to open the minds of our students to the practicality and application of science in Silicon valley which can be replicated here in our own way.
“On the other hand, we expect these students going out to the United States of America to be good ambassadors whilst on the tour by flying the country’s flag high. Upon their return the students are supposed to continue to shine and be our STEM brand ambassadors,” he said.
“They will also be able to share their experiences with their counterparts in their respective provinces and the country at large.”
Dr Gandawa also noted that much needs to be done how this STEM initiative needs more promotion.
“We still have a long way to go to popularize the STEM agenda. There is need to rethink our curriculum as directed by His Excellency President Robert Mugabe; our Universities and Polytechnics need to strategies and start to produce innovators, inventors and problem solvers rather than technicians,” he said.
“ You will note ladies and gentlemen that the rise of cheap imports and technological advancements have impacted negatively on certain industries which are now dying and we must allow them to die, for example, appliance repair industries are dying; consumers prefer to buy new appliances instead of fixing them.
“Its now cheaper to buy new ones than to repair, hence the need to reduce the training of technicians.
“Our curriculum should include among many other programs, the rise if robotics, space careers, extraterrestrials, bionics, techno-farming, cloning, and medical frontiers. We need to start producing engineering experts, clone doctors, sports, engineers, robot retainers, bio-farming experts among other professions.”
Being the only girl out of a team of 10, Mtshabezi High in Gwanda, Matebeleland South Faith Vundla said she is an aspiring cardiologist.
“I’m currently studying five subjects at Mtshabezi High located in Matebeleland South. I do five subjects which are Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology , Food Science and Further Mathematics. I chose to do these subjects having to realise our situation in Zimbabwe whereby people are going out of the country for trea\tment of the heart and when I grow up I want to be cardiologist,” she said.
She also thanked the sponsors of the trip the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development for affording her the opportunity to travel to the United States as well as paying for her school fees.
The other nine visiting the Silicon Valley are Bonging Ndlovu, Tinashe Musinganeti, Godknows Mupikata, Cosmas Mavhunga, Nigel Tsikayi, Lesley Makotsi, Admire tapfumaneyi, Kudakwashe Makusha, and Ngonidzashe Maphosa.