Sunday, February 25, 2018

Maths requirement clarified

Views
Tinomuda Chakanyuka
TERTIARY institutions have been given the green light to recruit students without Mathematics and English passes as long as the programmes they want to pursue do not require those subjects.
This comes after Government in 2016 issued a circular to the Higher Education Examination Council saying students without Mathematics should not be allowed to register for examinations.
This saw enrolment at tertiary institutions taking a hit.
Last month, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Amon Murwira met academics in Bulawayo where concerns were raised about stringent entry requirements into tertiary institutions, some of which were not relevant to specific programmes.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new Government has agreed with them.
In an interview, Prof Murwira said it did not make sense for an institution to have O-Level Mathematics as a requirement for a purely Arts programme.
“It remains the institution’s responsibility to revise entry requirements,” he said. “As a ministry, we leave such decisions to the colleges. Our role is to give direction and not directives on academic matters. We leave academic boards to exercise their independence and rights.”
Prof Murwira added, “I might have been misconstrued when I talked about entry qualifications. I never said scrap Maths. Some tertiary institutions complained that some of the entry requirements were not relevant or matching some of the courses, and enrolment numbers were plummeting.
“I said if you feel a particular programme like Hotel and Catering or a purely Arts programme does not require Maths, why not revise that?”
Prof Murwira said Government promoted inclusive education policies and urged tertiary institutions to recognise diversity in talents and abilities.
“As a country we should have people of different specialisations. We can’t all be engineers. We need journalists, teachers and a host of other professionals. We don’t want to see a student who deserves to be in college roaming the streets, no.” Last month Prof Murwira met academics in Bulawayo where concerns were raised over stringent entry requirements into tertiary institutions, some of which were not relevant to specific programmes.