THE Government has spent $3 million on Science and Mathematics teacher training in a bid to improve the quality of students that are churned out to teach the critical subjects.
Mathematics and Science have been hot topics in the education sector with the Government advocating for the promotion of teaching of the subjects in schools.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, said the logic was to ensure that there are enough teachers in the schools who could then teach the subjects. Last year, he said the ministry invested $3 million in the training exercise.
"So, we felt that this model has to be inverted so that we start by teaching teachers so that they can teach students. This therefore means that, the increased output of trained Science and Mathematics teachers will improve the quality of teaching, culminating into the production of Science and Mathematics-oriented students who will take up STEM related careers towards modernisation and industrialisation for growing the economy in order to achieve Vision 2030 of an upper middle-income economy," he said.
The country has over the years faced an acute shortage of Science and Mathematics teachers.
The current average output of 856 science teachers per year from the three secondary school teacher training colleges; Belvedere Technical Teachers' College, Mutare Teachers' College, Hillside Teachers' College and universities is not enough to meet the projected demand of 5 000 by 2023 needed in schools.
"We found out that this number would not be adequate to meet this and satisfy this, so we started on a programme to train Science and Mathematics teachers and these are colleges that previously were not training secondary school teachers - which are Mkoba, Masvingo Teachers' College and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic," said Prof Murwira.
He stressed the importance of empowering training institutions.
"If we desire industry from our education system, therefore we should give the universities that mandate which we have done. Because of the above intervention, by 2022, the total number of Science teachers will be 3 003 and Mathematics teachers will be 792 in addition to the total number of 1 660 from the three secondary teachers' colleges. The total projected number of Science and Mathematics teachers by 2023 would then be 5 455," he said.