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Rethinking Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the Context of the New Curriculum Framework for Primary and Secondary Education 2015-2022 in Zimbabwe
This article examines the provision of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in view of the new curriculum in Zimbabwe. It observes that while TVET has been on the school curriculum since the colonial times, education continues to be criticized for being irrelevant to the needs of industry. The introduction of the F2 schools for African children before the attainment of political independence in 1980, the education with production (EWP) which was introduced soon after independence, the current thrust on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the inclusion of design and technology in the new curriculum reflect continuous efforts to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. The article suggests a reconceptualization of TVET in line with the rapid developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and changing demands in industry. There is need to move from traditional notions of TVET which focus on practical skills that are imparted through rote learning and practical drills. The new curriculum has identified problem-solving and competency based education as key elements of the new learning areas. The curriculum is intended to address national aspirations as encapsulated in developmental plans and programmes such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET). In that regard, this article suggests that design and technology should be part of the core learning areas of every child from early childhood development (ECD) in order to lay a solid base of key knowledge and skills needed for the future socio-economic growth of Zimbabwe. The core learning areas should however be based on broader generic competences rather than subject-specific knowledge and skills.