Quality control in education vital


HARARE – Weaving through the human traffic jungle on my way to Fourth Street Bus Termini, I bumped into a young graduate from a local university.

After his studies, he expected immediate employment but because of the job freeze in the civil service, the young man who graduated with an honours degree in nursing science had to be content with temporary teaching in high schools.

He did not complain much as he understood the trying times that people are going through in Zimbabwe  — “What is important is that I have my papers and if the opportunity comes then everything will change for the better, but for now it seems I must just do what is possible”, he said.

I wished him the best of luck, but for now waiting is what he must do like many of his colleagues.

With the rate of unemployment souring to above 90 percent, the chances of getting employed are fast dwindling.

Even in Europe life has also become agonisingly desperate in light of the Eurozone crisis and the worldwide economic slump.

There is no doubt that a lot of university and college graduates are finding it hard to get employed.

Employers are also receiving more than enough respondents to job advertisements. This competition is good because it helps them to get the best candidate for the job and more value to the organisation.

No employer wants to engage someone whose credentials are perceive to be sub-standard.

Recent media reports on the unsuitability of Zimbabwe Open University (Zou) teaching diploma and the suspension of some of its programmes last year stinks and generally casts doubt on the credibility of the programmes offered by the institution.

If employers reject some of the graduates for whatever reason then the institution must try to make the necessary adjustments and convince all stakeholders that open and distance education can deliver quality education in the same manner as conventional universities.

They must take a cue from the University of South Africa (Unisa) which has become a household and unquestionable brand across Africa in open and distance learning.

All progressive individuals recently got the shock of their lives by the arrogant and defensive manner in which an academic from the institution insisted that noone except the senate of the institution could tell them what to do.

The academic said “the diploma in education (Primary) is an approved programme with full senate approval.
The university is empowered in terms of the Zimbabwe Open University Act, Chapter 25:20, to offer diplomas and degrees and there is no other authority required except senate approval and conferment by His Excellence and Chancellor of the university to run this programme.”  

What this simply implies is the senate can foist its wishes on Zimbabweans without being  accountable and if the senate maintains that their product is of the highest quality according to their approval, why then should it fight those who think it is not.

Does the training compare well with what other training institutions are offering?

If it does not measure up then the senate should go back to  the drawing board, re-strategise and gain acceptance.

No parent would want their child to be given a firm foundation in primary education by a teacher with questionable credentials.  

The arrogance displayed by the academic shows that they are hiding something.

There is no need whatsoever to ask useless questions like does the Public Service Commission (PSC) has a senate or how many professors are in the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education; they do not need those structures?

The future of Zimbabwean children cannot be sacrificed to personal whims of an “undisputed senate”.

The only way education can improve a nation is by being relevant and ensuring good quality.

We must not entertain professorial tyranny.

Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education must ensure quality control and maintenance of set standards without fear or favour. There is no substitute for quality.

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