The Sunday Mail
Hon Josaya Hungwe
His Excellency President R.G Mugabe appointed me to streamline psychomotor education in the education system, and I believe there are success stories if you look at the two education ministries.
Our mandate is that of mobilisation of skills.
In future, we will look at the effective utilisation of skilled human capital and the empowerment of unemployed youths.
I believe people now understand what psychomotor is all about.
We have been defining psychomotor since the time we were established in 2013, through publicity programmes at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and Harare Agricultural Show.
There have also been interactions with line ministries with functions founded in skills development; development partners and other stakeholders.
Simply put, psychomotor is the application of abilities or the development of practical skills.
It is one of the three domains of learning, which place emphasis on practical application, through imitation, practice and mastering a practical skill.
It came out clearly during the Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training that emphasis on education was being placed on academic orientation and passing examinations.
Generally, low level priority was given to psychomotor education and skills training. Skills training was not seen as important. Thus, learning was heavily skewed towards academics.
There were negative perceptions towards practical subjects.
At present, with emphasis on Stem by the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry, and a curriculum underpinned by psychomotor orientation, Zimbabwe is poised to produce a person who is equipped with skills at low, middle and high tech levels.
The lower level skills which include literacy and numeracy, entrepreneurship, ICT and soft skills will be offered at vocational training schools and colleges.
Middle level skills will be offered at polytechnics, and among these will be techno-preneurial, printing and graphic design and reverse engineering.
High tech skills such as Computer-aided Design and Manufacturing, Mechatronics and ICT will be at university level.
Such fora of facilitating the broadening and enrichment of the primary and secondary education curricula have now resulted in a rigorous curriculum review exercise incorporating psychomotor aspects.
Under the same drive, our Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development counterparts have implemented the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative.
On the holistic drive to ensure that there is a regulatory framework for existence and management of psychomotor activities, we have partnered with ministries and departments involved in skills development and skills specialist development partners to develop a Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy Framework, which is synonymous with Psychomotor Education and Skills Development which is in its infancy.
On practical application, we have gone into partnerships with private sector organisations in rolling out psychomotor projects which will bring about tangible results and put food on the tables of youths who are challenged by unemployment and under-employment.
We are nearing the signing of Memoranda of Understanding in areas of electronics, agriculture and health.
This underlines the thrust of Government on Public Private Partnerships, and is commensurate with the pillars of Zim-Asset, which are to indigenise, develop, empower and create employment.
For your information, there is nothing called “new curriculum”, but there is curriculum review.
Curriculum development is a continuous process as it reviews the past, present and anticipates the future.
The ministries of Primary and Secondary Education; and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, we believe, are currently engaged with curriculum review. The ideal psychomotor education curriculum would focus on basic life skills learning in primary school, increasing in complexity at secondary school.
The middle level skills should be developed at post-secondary school colleges where artisanship should be developed.
Higher level skills, including innovation and production technology, are set aside for the universities.
My role is to coordinate and oversee the fusion of scientific knowledge and technical education into the education system.
It is natural tendency of humanity to look at issues of a paradigm shift with doubt, incertitude and Zimbabwe is no exception to that.
Actually, one of the most renowned geographers, Charles Darwin, said, “It is not the most intelligent species that will survive in a changing environment but the most adaptable one.”
And, for instance, in his time, Gallileo was ridiculed when he discovered that the world was round and it indeed turned out that the world was round.
It is the hope of Government and indeed its wish to formulate strategies to resuscitate industries and create employment for youths.
Psychomotor education will create a forum for the uptake of scientific, technical and entrepreneurial skills development.
A number of countries have designated institutions for high tech skills, and this has worked wonderfully well for them.
One such country is India.
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is an engineering institute that was established in 1958.
It is among one of the four institutions set up by the Indian Government to give direction in the development of technical education.
India now ranks among the best countries, technologically, in the world today.
The future is bright.
Zimbabwe has always maintained a high standard of education above that of other countries across the continent.
Honourable Josaya Hungwe is the Minister of State on Psychomotor Activities in Education. He shared these views with The Sunday Mail’s Grace Kaerasora in Harare last week