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Technical, fundamental soft skills required for competitiveness: Prof Mavima

Prof Paul Mavima addressing delegates
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The country requires critical technical skills and other fundamental soft skills to be competitive, Prof Paul Mavima, the Minister of Skills Audit and Development has said.

Prof Mavima made the revelation at a Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshop on the Mandate of the Ministry of Skills Audit and Development that got underway in Harare today.

The workshop comes from the realisation that the industrial sector is suffering from acute skills shortages even though the country has a huge population of educated people who are unemployed, especially the youths. The skills shortage points to the mismatch between what is being produced by training institutions and what is required by the industry. This also reflects the redundancy of some of the available skills and the need to develop the required skills and modernize them for both the present and the future.

“It is against this background, that my Ministry was created to bridge these gaps and ensure that all training institutions are informed and capacitated to produce skilled professionals who can meet the skills requirements for both the private and public sectors. Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. However, its skill level and adaptability are still very low.

“Adversely, this has undermined the developmental trajectory of our nation. We require critical technical skills and other fundamental soft skills to be competitive. Furthermore, the mass exodus of skilled personnel from Zimbabwe during the last two decades created a vacuum that needs to be addressed through a skills revolution that includes reversing the brain drain and focusing on contemporary skills needs,” Prof Mavima said.

He said all nations that have evolved from low-income to high-income status in the past have done so premised on their deliberate efforts on skills development.

In that respect, Zimbabwe needs to adopt a deliberate strategy for a skills revolution to keep abreast with the fast-paced technology in the world.

“We are in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution which brings about huge demands for new skills. We face phenomena such as climate change and the rising need to green our economies.

“Today’s meeting is one among many, where stakeholders from our various sectors will start the process of identifying sector-specific skills needs and the gaps that must be filled both in terms of extant and emerging skills. These consultations will form part of our general skills audit as well as be the basis of our national skills development agenda going forward. As you participate in these deliberations today, I urge you to take this process very seriously and keep alive the conscience that this will help in propelling our nation to achieving Vision 2030 and even greater socioeconomic prosperity.”

Human Capital Development is the bedrock of economic growth and sustainable development. It is the ingenuity of a nation’s human capital that creates national value and national wealth. Nations that foster innovation can use their national resource base to their fullest advantage. Some nations with scant natural resource bases have successfully deployed their collective national ingenuity to create some of the most formidable economies in the world (Japan, South Korea, and Singapore).

The Permanent Secretary for Skills Audit and Development, Ambassador Rudo Chitiga gave a detailed account of the roles and mandate of her ministry.

 

WHAT IS THE MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY?

 

  • To identify and develop the requisite skills and competencies that   will result in socio-economic transformation of the country.
  •   To come up with policies and programmes that will enable   Zimbabwe to adapt and benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution.
  • To focus the scholarship programmes on critical skills that the   country needs.
  • To collaborate with the Education Ministries to ensure the provision of   skills that promote entrepreneurship, psychomotor skills and skills   that relate to industry and social development.

WHAT ARE THE MINISTRY`S CORE VALUES?

  • GENDER JUSTICE: A commitment to social transformation that   provides equal opportunities to participate in, contribute to and   benefit from services offered and institutional structures.
  • INCLUSIVITY: Continuously engaging all its valued clients and   stakeholders to provide quality service.
  • RESPONSIVENESS: Readiness to serve both clients and   stakeholders (servant leadership).
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE: Highly competent team which sets clear   standards of service that clients can expect, monitor and review.
  • STEWARDSHIP: A team that deploys resources to areas of national   priority and need.
  • CONSISTENCY: A highly reliable and productive team which the   nation can count on.

 

WHAT ARE THE MINISTRY`S OVERALL FUNCTIONS?

  • To align national skills to the new digital economy;
  • To ensure close linkages between skills development in higher and   tertiary education institutions with national development strategies   and thereby promote the churning out of graduates capable of   making tangible contributions to the development of the country.
  • To raise the skills base beyond the current 38% in fulfillment of   Vision 2030 and implementation of the Africa Vision 2063;
  • To pay particular attention to skills development in the critical areas   of Engineering and Technology, National and Applied Sciences; and   Agriculture.
  • To ensure alignment between curricula and syllabi to focus on skills   deficit areas;
  • To ensure that new scholarship schemes are supportive of the   development thrust of the nation, particularly Vision 2030;
  • To conduct a specific Skills Audit every 3 years, and the National Critical   Skills Audit every 10 years;
  • To develop a Skills Development Plan for the period 2018 to 2028 and   the skills shortages and surpluses as identified in the 2018 Audit Report.
  • To assist Government and private sector organizations to fully   comprehend the information provided in the 2018 Skills Audit Report.
  • To ensure that the country explores for adoption, emerging   technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, drones and 3D   printing.
  • To liaise with and ensure that the country`s technically oriented public   entities are resuscitated and carry out special apprenticeship training   programmes;
  • To assist in luring back to Zimbabwe specialist skills resident in the   Diaspora and thereby foster skills transfer among local graduates.
  • To ensure that learners of any academic orientation and those with   psychomotor aptitudes are identified early and developed along   specific   pathways.
  • To ensure that career guidance is provided in schools from an early   age;
  • To ensure that Universities, Colleges, Polytechnics and Vocational   Training   Centers produce graduates who fit well into the modern digital economy   and that these institutions absorb as many candidates as possible;
  • To address the bottlenecks that restrict entry into higher and tertiary   institutions by interested learners who have acquired relevant entry   qualifications for their preferred areas of study;
  • To ensure that business sector is encouraged to resume trade-related   attachment programmes in liaison with local industry; and
  • To promote coherence between education output and the needs of   the labour market.

 

WHAT IS THE MINISTRY`S CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL   DEVELOPMENT?

 

CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL PRIORITY AREAS (NPAs):

– Human Capital Development and Innovation

– Digital Economy

CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL KEY RESULT AREAS (KRAs):

– Innovation and knowledge driven economy

– Digital enabled economy

CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL OUTCOMES (NOUs):

  • Increased innovation for industrialization
  • Improved access and utilization of advanced knowledge and     technologies
  • Improved access and usage of Information Communication   Technologies (ICTs).

 

WHO ARE THE MINISTRY`S STAKEHOLDERS?

  • Partner Government Ministries and sectors associated with them.
  • Private Sector and their associations
  • Universities, Colleges, Polytechnics and Vocational Training   Centers in public and private sector
  • Provincial development Ministries
  • SMEs and Informal Sector
  • Civil Soceity Organizations (CSOs) and Development Partners
  • Diaspora

 

The Ministry promised to facilitate the creation of symbiotic relationships among labour, industries, universities, polytechnics, formal and informal vocational training centers.

Through continuous consultations and collaborations, the Ministry said it shall develop skills development programmes for specific value chains and partner with institutions which will become centers of excellence. It will also play a major role in supporting the rural industrialization.

 

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende