Kudzai Chikiwa, Chronicle Reporter
THE renovation of Ntabazinduna Vocational Training Centre to transform it into Matabeleland North province’s first teachers’ college has started with the first intake of students expected later this year, a Cabinet Minister has said.
In July last year, the Government pledged to turn the training centre into a teachers’ training college which would operate under the United College of Education (UCE).
This was after traditional leaders in the area lamented the absence of a teacher training institution in Matabeleland North during a meeting with Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry officials.
In an interview last week, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said work at the institution was in progress.
He said he expects the first intake to be between May and August this year.
“We have budgeted for everything so that renovation starts this year in January and we have started the process. As l mentioned last year, we do not want students to come and learn under trees just because we are rushing to kick start. A higher and tertiary institution should be a comfortable place to learn,” he said.
“Since we are making it a satellite college, it means we won’t have problems like when you are starting a new thing. It simply means the administration is already there. It would operate under an already established college so that means it’s very easy to get off the ground.”
He said although recruitment of students may prioritise locals, the college is open to students across the country.
“I want to appreciate traditional leaders for opening eyes of the Government in showing us a loophole in our Ministry. However let it be clear that recruitment of students is not limited to the province only. Though we prioritise locals who have been disadvantaged before, doors are open to all students from the country because this is a State institution,” he said.
Prof Murwira said higher and tertiary education is meant to boost local economies.
He said his Ministry is committed to improving access to tertiary education across the country.
Prof Murwira said a nation’s production is a reflection of its higher and tertiary education system.
“We have no time to waste in our ministry; we strive to be practical because our philosophy says ‘We have no brain to waste’. Our institutions of higher and tertiary education are hives of economic activities that benefit the people,” he said.
“Without such institutions, the economy will be dead. Imagine removing the National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo Polytechnic and other institutions in Bulawayo. The city will become economically dead.”