ZIMBABWE is a society of social actors, with just announced statistics pointing out that the country is the best in the continent with a massive 94% of the entire population being able to read and write.
Column by Ronald Moyo
It is, however, necessary to point out that education as an institution in Zimbabwe has also reflected another characteristic of the country.
Tertiary institutions, especially universities, have lost their intended role of producing intellectuals for the benefit of the society. Instead, they have been reduced to mere business entities. This is also evidenced by the way how State universities are springing up everywhere in the country. They have emerged in numbers in almost every province. Despite the fact that most of them are bellow standard, the government is working on establishing another university in Matabeleland South.
Universities are now profit driven institutions and their motives have compromised the quality of their products. They are producing pseudo-intellectuals who masquerade as academics.
It is believed that education is the proving ground for ability, but it is no longer the case in Zimbabwe. Corruption is endemic such that the process of recruitment is corrupting itself.
It is just a myth that those who are intelligent, produced better results at Advanced Level, are the ones who do most prestigious programmes of their choices. It is true, but only on the part of the unsuspecting and gullible individuals. Corruption is endemic. Vacancies are allocated based on nepotism, favouritism and political affiliation.
The behaviour of tertiary institutions resembles our leadership in society. Perhaps it is important to point out that universities, especially State universities behave the way they do because those in power use them for their hegemonic benefits. Great thinkers once argued that education is an ideological conditioning device in an exploitative society.
It is used to exploit people in the Zimbabwean society.
Overcrowding people at tertiary institutions is to a certain extent a strategic move for the benefit of those who are in power, but often times it comes as the guise to empower, but the question is — If it’s true empowerment is through education, why do State universities expect so much from the empowered; the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme?
They expect much to that extent of demanding full fees from those who are on work-related learning. This shows the levels to which tertiary institutions have become profit-motivated.
More so, universities are used by the ruling elite as a mechanism of social control. Statistics compiled at one of the fastest growing State universities on the land a few days after the first deadline of voter-registration portrayed that only one student out of 10 was a registered voter. This shows the levels to which education can depoliticise the mind.
A number of students are less involved in political issues as they are occupied in something that demands high concentration, therefore reducing their chances of participating in national discourses.
The most compelling thing is the iron of recruitment vis-à-vis the employment problems. While tertiary institutions recruit in huge numbers, the government is still struggling to create sufficient jobs for the graduates, which in turn affects the functionality of the social system.
Zanu PF policies of empowerment, indigenisation and job creation have not worked so far and like any other policies, they have implemented before, it is predictable that they will benefit only a few individuals who are politically correct at the expense of the whole country.
The reason why people still value and rush to tertiary institutions is the powerful nature of socialisation. In most societies people have been made to believe that “being” is to be a degree or a diploma holder, thus the need to consume the services of tertiary institutions is prioritised.
At college, students’ expectations are high, unfortunately in real life the dream of good life is reduced to a mirage.
Zimbabwe is a country of conformists prepared to follow expected procedures that take one to success, but what frustrates most is that regardless of following correct protocols, results are negative.
Unlike Carl Marx’s predicted revolution that failed, Zimbabweans will one day break through. The strategy of keeping the masses occupied in tertiary institutions will very soon lose its function, people are graduating in numbers yet there are no jobs. The streets are full of desperate jobless degree holders.
The problem is already affecting the functionality of the social system. The society is like an electrical circuit, thus, there is need for systems to flow uniformly. With this unbalanced flow in the Zimbabwean society the fuse is likely to burst. The masses who sacrificed their time and money in tertiary institutions will rebel.
I do not suggest that people quit following most valued protocols, people should value education, but this is the high time the government stopped politicking and focus on creation of jobs.