Zimbabwe plans to remove lecturers from the Public Service Commission to State employees in line with the country’s constitution and to meet international best practices, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Amon Murwira told Parliament this week.
He said this during the second reading of the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment bill which he said sough to:
- to promote the development and implementation of the national skills planning and development strategy;
- to promote universities, technical, teachers and vocational education that leads to the production of goods and services;
- to promote the operational independence of technical and vocational institutions and teachers college in the way universities are;
- promote engineering and innovation for industrialisation and modernisation through research institutions and institutions of higher and tertiary education.
Below is what Murwira said:
MANPOWER PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 2, 2020]
THE MINSTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, the rationale for the proposed Manpower Planning Development Amendment Bill is to create an enabling legislation for the implementation of a Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development system that leads to a national capability for the deliberate and rapid industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe. This is made possible through a Higher and Tertiary Education system that facilitates ability to produce goods and services, for instance through heritage based Education 5.0.
Madam Speaker, we are convinced that the Higher and Tertiary
Education system and its curricula must be derived from human needs. To fulfill human needs, the education system then develops a curriculum that addresses these human needs by developing an industrial capability that produces goods and services to meet these very same human needs.
Madam Speaker, all in all, causing an industry that meets human need is the ultimate aim of any organised learning or education system. Zimbabwe’s education system must be of the same philosophy. This is why it is a fact that the future of industrial development of prospects of any country, the prospects are easily predicted by what is taught in the country’s lecture rooms, workshops and laboratories. To this end, no country can develop faster than the development of its education system.
Madam Speaker, in 2018 and in response to the need to modernise and industrialise our nation through a correctly designed education system, Government came up with Education 5.0 Policy Framework. The framework entails that education has to have five inter-dependent pillars which are teaching or learning, research, community outreach, innovation and industrialisation. Innovation and industrialisation are the additional two pillars to the traditional three pillars of teaching, research and community outreach which we called Education 3.0. This policy needs a strong and supportive legal instrument that embraces it.
Madam Speaker, the above need made us to look at our principal Act of Manpower Planning and Development Act [Chapter28:02], herein after I will refer to as an Act of 1996 with the aim of strengthening it to adequately support the Education 5.0 or simply the Education for Industrialisation Policy Framework. This amendment is important to achieve this strategic intent. Madam Speaker, nations are directed by their national strategic intentions. The national strategic intention is achieved through a national capability, a national capability is in turn achieved using a deliberate configuration of education or manpower development to achieve industrialisation and modernisation.
Madam Speaker, we are basically saying our education is our means for our economic development. Furthermore , the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20 of 2013, hereinafter, I will refer to as the Constitution ushered in the promotion of good corporate governance and other progressive principles which helps to improve service delivery in institutions of Higher and Tertiary Education and its parastatals. As such, the Ministry is aligning the Manpower Planning and Development Act to the Constitution.
Madam Speaker and Hon. Members of Parliament, you may also be aware of the problems that were being faced by the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund a few years ago which included abuse of funds. Malpractices had driven the fund to near bankruptcy where staff salaries were now being paid by a commercial bank against the title deed of ZIMDEF properties. It is our view that these are attributed to the non-implementation of the provisions of the Constitution on good governance and we wish to address this.
Our national strategic intent is to modernise and industrialise Zimbabwe by having an aligned skilled and productive manpower that efficiently delivers a capability to produce goods and services using the heritage based philosophy. We assert that our heritage shall determine the principal direction of our manpower planning and development. Nations can only develop on resources that they have by applying knowledge and skills on them.
Madam Speaker, our Manpower Planning design must therefore, ensure that investment in human capital results in the timely and relevant capability to effectively carryout this national strategic intent of becoming a developed and prosperous nation starting with the level of an upper middle income economy by 2030. We once again assert that the level of development of any nation is a reflection of the level of development and skills of its human resources, given two nations with exactly the same amount of natural endowment but different levels of development, the latter can only be explained by the different levels of knowledge and skills of the manpower of the two nations. A nation with higher skills in manpower will develop faster than the one with lower skills although they might have the same natural resources.
Madam Speaker, the national critical skills audit which was carried out from December 2017 to April l2018, showed that although our national literacy is over 94%, the national skills levels are at 38%. Remember production of goods and services can only happen when there is both knowledge and skill. Skills development has therefore become one of our main focuses as a nation. The design of our manpower planning and development system is our prime target for us to get out of poverty and move Zimbabwe to prosperity.
The purpose of the Bill – as a result of the foregoing, there is therefore an urgent need to amend the Manpower Planning and Development Act for the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the following:-
- To transfer the employees of Tertiary institutions from the Public Service Commission to State employees in a similar category to State University employees as this conforms to international best practice and it is in our interest as a nation.
- To provide for the strengthening of the Act with regard to quality control of professional bodies that engage in manpower development, science and technology as well as Manpower training institutions so that training and registration of professionals can be quality controlled under the Act and to align this Act to the Constitution.
- To provide for quality control to all tertiary training institutions, science and technologies institutions and professional bodies that they are quality administered under the Act.
- To ensure that all qualifications obtained in all higher and tertiary institutions lead to the production and goods and services for the industrialisation and modernisation of our nation.
- To entrench the Act in all manpower development issues and to strengthen the control and application of science and technology for the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe.
The objectives Madam Speaker, the Bill seeks to promote the development and implementation of the national skills planning and development strategy; to promote universities, technical, teachers and vocational education that leads to the production of goods and services; to promote the operational independence of technical and vocational institutions and teachers college in the way universities are; promote engineering and innovation for industrialisation and modernisation through research institutions and institutions of higher and tertiary education.
Going to principles Madam Speaker;
Principle number 1 is to achieve the transfer of tertiary education employees from the Public Service Commission to State institution employees. In order to follow and comply with international best practice in relation to academic freedom and academic integrity for industrialisation, modernisation and attainment of vision of 2030 and beyond, the Ministry requires that all tertiary education institutions employees be transferred from being public service commission employees to state granted institution employees so that they are just like state university employees.
This guarantee academic independence and objectivity for modernisation and industrialisation. The move is intended to ensure that we retain or attract the best brains in the tertiary institutions to facilitate the industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe.
Consequently, all promotion procedures for tertiary institutions should be regulated under the Act in order to ensure compliance with the Zimbabwe national qualifications framework.
Principle 2; it deals with academic and professional training to be done under this Act. The provisions of the Act which deals with professional skills and academic training will be amended to ensure that both academic, skills and professional training as well as registration and control of professional bodies is done under the Act to make sure that we have one manpower direction so that we industrialise and modernise our country.
In addition, the Act will be amended to give the Minister more powers to control the professional bodies in order to achieve quality training and professional standards aimed at industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe through the production of goods and services.
On Principle number 3, good governance, in terms of Section 9 of the Constitution, the State must adopt and implement policies and legislation to develop efficiency, competence, accountability, transparency, integrity and financial probity in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level and in every public institution. These include the appointments to public offices that must made primarily on the basis of merit and that measures must be taken to expose, combat and eradicate all forms of corruption and abuse of power by those holding public offices. This will further strengthen and emphasise the law as provided by the Public Entities’ Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10.31]. We intend to reform the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund to align with it good corporate governance practice by putting in place a board. The Minister responsible for administration of the Act will give policy direction to the board. This Principle seeks to entrench the principle of good governance as enshrined in Section 9 of the Constitution.
We also propose that the national manpower advisory council NAMCO be given additional powers and be strengthened to have control over professional bodies and call manpower related activities in order for it to fully deliver its mandate for the industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe. Therefore it entails amending part III and part V as well as other provisions of the Act that speak to ZIMDEF and NAMACO in order to incorporate the envisaged changes in a way that ensures good corporate governance.
PRINCIPLE 4: Management of Statutory Bodies. Section 316 of the Constitution governs the management of statutory bodies including ZIMDEF. These include their competent and effective operation and that the Chief Executive Officers serve for a limited period whose renewal is dependent on the efficient performance of their duties. The Act is to be aligned to the Constitution to incorporate the management of statutory bodies to give effect to the constitutional position and the position as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.
In addition, all sections that provide for contracts of employment will be amended to satisfy that the contract of employment should be performance based and with a specific time limit.
PRINCIPLE NO. 5: Duties of custodian of public funds and Property. In terms of Section 308 (2) of the Constitution, it is the duty of every person who is responsible for the expenditure of public funds to safeguard the funds and ensure that they are spent only on legally authorised purposeS and in legally authorised amounts.
Section 308 (4) provides that an Act of Parliament and in this case, the Act must provide for the speedy detection of breaches of the law and disciplining and punishment of persons responsible for the breach. It is proposed therefore that there be an amendment to the Act to ensure that all ZIMDEF funds are used for manpower development related activities as a safeguard against abuse of funds.
PRINCIPLE NO. 6: Quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological institutions and professional bodies: In order to achieve Vision 2030 and beyond, there is need to emphasise issues of quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological institutions and professional bodies. In this regard we insert provisions in the Act that deal with strengthening quality control because in the mean time, there is already the issue of quality control but strengthening quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological terrain institutions and professional bodies.
This entails that all tertiary, scientific and technological education training, registration and control of professional bodies shall be facilitated under this Act.
In addition, it must be provided in the Act that all qualifications obtained in all Higher and Tertiary Education Institutions in Zimbabwe must lead to the ability or capability to produce either goods or services for the purpose of meeting human needs through industrialisation and modernisation. This shall enable Zimbabwe to leapfrog in its development using education and training as a facilitator.
ON PRINCIPLE NO. 7: Gender balance.
Section 17 of the Constitution stipulates that the State must promote full gender balance and that the State must take all legislative measures to ensure that both genders are equally represented in all institutions and agencies of Zimbabwe. Both genders must be equally represented in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level. This principle seeks to bring into effect the right to gender balance in all boards and councils appointed in terms of this Act as stipulated in the Constitution.
PRINCIPLE 8: Supremacy of the Act on matters of manpower development and planning. The Act will be amended by making the Act prevail stronger on issues of training and education qualifications and quality. The Act is strengthened when it comes to regulating the establishment or conduct of quality by any institution of higher and tertiary learning or a professional body involved in manpower training.
PRINCIPLE 9: Strengthening Innovation, Science and Technology for Industrialisation and Modernisation. Mr. Speaker Sir, Science, Technology and Innovation are the bedrock for Zimbabwe’s capability to leapfrog and become an industrialised economy. We will strengthen the Act so that it is explicit in the promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation for the Industrialisation of Zimbabwe.
The Act is amended to give effect to the formation of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences as an advisory body to the State on innovation, science and technology issues along the lines of other Academies such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Sciences.
In conclusion Madam Speaker, I wish to highlight that it is envisaged that once the amendments go through, the Act will fully be aligned to the Constitution and there will be the effective management of the Institutions of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology and the parastatals that fall within the purview of the Act and professional bodies. I therefore move that the Bill be now read a second time.