Innovation shapes the future of young people

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The Sunday Mail

The education and development of all young people is essential and it is a subject on which the Second Republic has constantly emphasized and given increased attention.

This is how they can take their place in society, play their part in the growth and development of Zimbabwe and, above all for every young person, live a satisfying, creative and productive life.

Of the more than a million young people currently attending high schools or higher education institutions, perhaps two will one day be elected president and a dozen will be part of the Cabinet, with a few dozen large companies listed on our scholarships, even assuming that there will be many more in a few decades. So, obviously, we have to go beyond the cliché of “leaders of tomorrow”. In a sense, it is true that the next generation will, as a whole, lead Zimbabwe towards a much better future if we can get them off to a good start so that they can chart their course and then support them as they do.

One problem, that of our education system, is finally being tackled. It was largely an extension of the old colonial layout designed for settlers. But we must remember that in the last three decades of settler rule, a quarter of young white school leavers entered the civil service, another large group joined the railroads and other state-owned enterprises, a good block returned home to work on dad’s big farm with the intention of one day taking it over, and another good block got a job from one of the parents’ friends. Women were diverted to temporary jobs before marriage.

Initiative, creativity and similar positive virtues were not really developed. While a few managed to become much more innovative and productive by setting up new ventures, this went beyond their education and backgrounds too tied to the ideals of England’s small public schools.

Education was for employment in secure jobs. For the majority of Zimbabweans, the initiative was about the last thing the settlers wanted. Primary education was pushed, so that the unskilled were literate, a few went slightly beyond to fill gaps in the semi-skilled fields, and the odd person was allowed to progress further to grudgingly fill the tiny gaps in skilled labor.

We have now learned that this is not enough for a growing modern country that must mobilize its entire population to the maximum of its ability. But it took decisive leadership to overturn inherited attitudes and take action, not talk. It took committed people to make the changes so no one was left behind. And more is needed.

We can now begin to see the changes. Communal lands were seen in settler times as a dumping ground; there were major efforts to change this after independence, but there was still an aura that they were for those who couldn’t do better. Land reform opened up many opportunities, but as audits show, some just wanted “a piece of land”, and even those who were serious about farming did not in many cases receive adequate support, although programs rudimentary inputs have been introduced.

The Second Republic came to power wanting to change that in a major way, with innovative farming systems and serious support to convert the “left behind” into true commercial farmers, earning a decent living. We are still talking about Pfumvudza/Intwasa being for “household food security”, but when you look at the program it’s easy to see that while it’s there, more production should be commercial, and that’s just the starting point.

As a result, we are already seeing a lot of motivated young people now applying for land so they can farm as a business. With the results of the land audits now coming in, it is hoped that the land originally offered and not used will be reallocated to motivated young people who want to farm and know how to farm, as entrepreneurs earning a living, not as people. scrape sustenance.

We have recorded some of the individual successes of this new generation of young farmers and are quickly seeing that when all are in this group, Zimbabwe will be well on its way to becoming a high income country, not just a middle income country.

Technical education, and higher education in general, are being renewed to encourage practical creativity and innovation, without forgetting the necessary theory.

Today we are publishing an article by a young engineer freshly graduated from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), who has clearly benefited from this, spending much of his final year in the HIT innovation hub, converting theory into something that works and is necessary and innovates. HIT had the equally practical policy of assigning experienced engineers to mentor students, not getting in their way or getting impatient and doing the work themselves, and this shows education at its best.

With this natural engineer’s ability to write clearly, lucidly and logically without out of place flourishes, we quickly see that this young man, and we hope his classmates, will soon be innovating in the big world outside the halls of HIT. This gives us much more confidence in the future of Zimbabwe. Because this is our future, young people whose capacities are fully developed, whose interests are exploited, who are encouraged to think outside the box, who want to create, to build, as farmers, as industrialists, as as engineers and as producers.

There’s another old cliché, that Rome wasn’t built in a day. But taking the type of young people we are training now, give them a few decades and we will see that something much bigger has arisen.

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