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O-Level internship a pipe line dream

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education recently announced an ambitious move which will see Ordinary level students being sent for industrial attachment.

The recent edition of The Sunday Mail published a front page article which stipulates that O-level pupils will go on industrial attachment after completing their ordinary level examinations while awaiting their results.

On paper, the internship gospel sounds like a sweet melody to the ears of an ordinary Zimbabwean, as it seeks to empower and improve the capabilities of outgoing O-level students.

The massive and persistent de-industrialization that has hard hit the country in the recent years has seen some workers being offloaded and the talk of attaching ordinary level students to many is seen as a pipeline dream.

Experts are of the view that the drive to send ordinary level pupils for attachment is a farfetched dream. They argue that for the proposition to work there is need for a vibrant industrial and agricultural sector.

Some are of the view that the industrial attachment for university students is hard to come by and this makes the O-level attachment proposal a pie in the sky.

A vibrant industrial and agricultural sector, they say, will see jobs being created and many of the retrenched workers going back to work.

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Charitable organisations which the Ministry is targeting as some of institutions which will attach pupils will also flourish.

Former Minister of Education, David Coltart cautiously said the initiative is certainly possible on paper, but very difficult to accomplish.

“It is a very good idea in theory and is compatible with the vision that to create more vocational/practical bias in our education system.

“However for this to work we need a vibrant industrial and agricultural sector which sadly we just don’t have at present,” said Colrtart.

Senator David Coltart also said that, “It is going to be impossible to get even a minority of students into businesses to do internships,” he said.

Dr Godfrey Kanyenze, Director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ), a research think-tank of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions condemned the proposed initiative.

He said: “How can people propose to attach O-level students? They first need to have a theoretical background before they undergo any form of training.”

Obert Masaraure, from the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said the current curriculum has more emphasis on theoretical side and limited hands on.

“It is also unfortunate that our curriculum today only nurture one type of intelligence neglecting others,” he said.

He also urged government to revive the dying economy.

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“This will not address unemployment and productivity. Our government must address macroeconomic challenges otherwise the changes will not help much,” he said.

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Journalist based in Harare

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