The new Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, replaced Ambassador Cain Mathema because the latter is unwell, President Mnangagwa has said. Minister Ndlovu is the former Minister of State in Vice President Chiwenga’s Office and is proportional representation legislator for Matabeleland South Province. Minister Mathema is now Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
President Mnangagwa said Minister Ndlovu will have to superintend the establishment of more than 3 000 schools across the country, a figure that Minister Mathema had identified as an optimum number required for pupils not to walk more than six kilometres to the next school.
The President made the clarification yesterday while addressing villagers in Mutoko where he was commissioning a food and vegetable processing plant at Tabudirira Vocational Training Centre in Mutoko, Mashonaland East province.
He was chronicling several Government projects that the Second Republic has embarked upon to improve the livelihoods of people in line with Vision 2030 of a prosperous upper middle income economy, anchored on the National Development Strategy1.
“On schools, it is unfortunate that our Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Mathema is not feeling well,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We have since replaced him with Dr Ndlovu. But Minister Mathema had done an exercise that seeks to establish how many more schools are required so that pupils do not walk for more than five to six kilometres.
“He did a research, which indicated that over 3 200 schools are required, so there is that programme.
“So Minister Ndlovu will have to implement that programme and if we complete it, we would now know that children in Zimbabwe no longer travel more than six kilometres.”
President Mnangagwa said there was need to modernise the education system so that it produces goods and services. He said the education system should not produce university graduates who roam from one office to another with their curriculum vitae looking for a job without the technical knowhow to produce tangible products.
The Second Republic, said President Mnangagwa, was ready to support through funding graduates with a viable project. “We want an education system that produces products, that produces goods and services,” he said.
Already, a number of tertiary institutions, even primary and secondary schools, have demonstrated that they can produce tangible goods since the outbreak of Covid-19 after they produced various personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitisers.
Dr Ndlovu has served as a senior civil servant before she was appointed Minister of State in Vice President Chiwenga’s office before her latest appointment.
Cde Mathema has been a senior Government official since 1997 when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development. He was later appointed Ambassador to Zambia and Governor for Bulawayo in February 2004, a post he held until September 2013 when he was appointed Minister of State for Provincial Affairs responsible for Matabeleland North, a post he held until October 2017.