MINISTER of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo has bemoaned the shortage of Physics and Chemistry teachers.
Prof Moyo revealed this at Mutare Teachersâ€™ College where he was the guest of honour at the institutionâ€™s 59th graduation ceremony held recently.
The ceremony saw 554 graduates graduating with teaching diplomas.
Addressing the gathering, Prof Moyo said the most critical shortage on all STEM subject teachers was in Physics and Chemistry, yet there were more qualified Mathematics teachers, which is foundation of all STEM subjects.
There is a shortfall of 2 053 Chemistry and Physics teachers.
â€œIt is common to find Mathematics teachers who also teach other non-STEM subjects, but the same is not usually the case with Physics and Chemistry teachers.
â€œThere is an urgent need to address this critical shortage as the ministry has a mandate in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act to plan, develop and train human capital for the countryâ€™s economy,â€ said Prof Moyo.
He said Mutare Teachersâ€™ College was affected by the STEM challenge and it was important to know that the challenge was a shared responsibility in discharging the ministryâ€™s mandate to plan, develop and train STEM teachers for secondary education.
â€œWith respect to the training of secondary school teachers in STEM subjects, altogether the approved establishment for trained O-Level STEM teachers is 5 067, those in post are 1 268, giving us a balance of 3 799 O-Level STEM teachers that we must develop and train as part of the new STEM initiative launched by the ministry,â€ he stated.
Prof Moyo applauded the college as 180 of its 554 graduates were STEM specialists.
Of the 180 STEM graduates, 49 were specialising in Science, 60 were specialists in Mathematics and 71 were majoring in Computer Studies.
Prof Moyo said the total number of â€˜Oâ€™ and â€˜Aâ€™ Level STEM teachers being trained by teachersâ€™ colleges, University of Zimbabwe and Bindura University of Science and Technology is 1 079, leaving a balance of 4 503 of the 5 581 needed by the approved establishment.
University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura, said his institution was ready to partner with the college in training degreed teachers at the college.
He said Mutare Teachersâ€™ College had to get out of the comfort zone and provide further tertiary education for their student teachers.