Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development minister Amon Murwira last week said polytechnics have a huge role to play in producing technically-oriented personnel who will be instrumental in bridging the gap between literacy rate and skills level.

According to a national critical skills audit conducted by the ministry, the gap between the literacy rate and skills level has remained wide as the former is at 94% while the latter is at 38%.

Speaking at the 2018 annual graduation and prize-giving ceremony at the Bulawayo Polytechnic, Murwira said polytechnics have the capacity for appropriate skills training toward achieving the vision of attaining a middle income economy by 2030.

“Although Zimbabwe has a high literacy rate of 94%, the skills levels are at 38%; therefore polytechnics have an important role in training personnel who are to be initiators, facilitators and implementers of technological development to reduce this gap between literacy rate and skills levels,” he said.

“Our graduates should tell us what they can do for the nation using the skills they have acquired at polytechnics, not us telling them what to do, for education which cannot produce jobs by itself, is not relevant at all.”

Bulawayo Polytechnic principal Gilbert Mabasa said the institution had done well in imparting scientific and technological knowledge in its graduates.

“We have done well in the facets of training educators, imparting scientific and technological know-how to our past and current artisan and technicians and we are propelled to continue to increase graduates in Stem-related fields in line with the national vision,” he said.

“This event comes at the opportune moment when TVETisation (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) is taking thrust to produce polytechnic graduates with skills pertinent to the needs of the current new dispensation mantra that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.”

This year’s graduation ceremony saw an increase in the total number of graduands by 22,2% from last year.

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