TEN Zimbabwean information communication technologies (ICT) students will this week leave for China under an incubation programme of global technology giant Huawei Technologies called Seeds for the Future.
The group is the fourth since 2015 when Huawei launched in Zimbabwe, benefiting 40 students as part of a global corporate social responsibility initiative that started in 2007. The students from different tertiary institutions in the country will undergo intensive training in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shenzhen, where Huawei is head-quartered.
The students will be equipped with necessary skills to enable them to identify and harness new opportunities in ICT.
Speaking at the launch and send-off event, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Prof Amon Murwira said Government is preparing for the future by putting in place necessary policies in higher education and by developing partnerships with business, labour and other social partners.
"The Seeds for the Future programme is aimed at popularising communications technologies and knowledge, developing ICT professionals, and increasing education opportunities to support Zimbabwe's digital transformation.
"It provides a vital link between classroom learning and the type of real world situations students will face once they enter the workforce.
"It also aims to challenge and inspire students who are considering a future in technology and to provide an experiential experience of life at one of the world's leading technology companies.
"The programme is an ongoing partnership that started in 2015 between the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development (MHTESTD) and Huawei, and is the implementation of a cooperation agreement which is aimed at capacity building, joint innovation and skills development, with the support of both the Chinese and Zimbabwean governments.
"It is a strategy that my ministry strongly believes will go a long way in aid of Education 5.0," said Prof Murwira.
Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Seeds for the Future programme is in line with the country's digitisation strategy.
"It helps cultivate and pool together ICT professionals and students that are crucial to industry development, thus boosting ICT industry growth, driving the development of different sectors and contributing to lower unemployment rates over the long term.
"We are grateful that this is being fulfilled today. Finally, I take this opportunity to thank the government of China, Huawei, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, University of Zimbabwe, the other various universities and everyone else involved in this programme that greatly contributes to the ICT sector.
"To the beneficiary students, please do not take such opportunities lightly, but rather maximise them to become better by gathering useful experiences and knowledge," he said.
Managing director of Huawei Technologies Zimbabwe Mr Shao Jie said: "We believe it is crucial that global leading companies like ourselves partner with universities in skills transfer.
"In this way, we hope that we will enable Zimbabwean universities to provide the skilled workforce that employer's need, and that will drive the continued transformation of the economy."
Economic and Commercial Counsellor of China to Zimbabwe Mr Chen Ning said the Seeds for the Future programme was a symbol of the growing friendship between Zimbabwe and China and is one example of this strategic partnership. He said it was his sincere wish that the collaboration will strengthen the bond and take Zimbabwe-China relations to greater heights.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is the patron of the Seeds of the Future programme.