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Ministry Challenged To Re-Align Curriculum Towards Design Technology

AS a number of developing countries continue to seek strategies for industrialization, learning institutions could not be left out of the bandwagon as most of them have started partnering software developing companies to move ahead of their competitors.

By Admire Masuku

Call it the race to the internet of things or as Advanced Design Colleges (ADC) (the distributor and trainer of Autodesk software in Zimbabwe) puts it as; “The future of making things.”

The movement is sweeping through many countries obsessed with user-friendly production processes and training institutions that are producing talent for the knowledge economy and success is a choice.

It is either a country joins the bandwagon or remain trapped in archaic educational models that advance the objectives of the colonial enterprise.

Director and founder of ADC in Zimbabwe, David Ngandu said Zimbabwe needs to position itself for this opportunity by investing in design technology.

“If things are to be made in 3D technology, we need to start understanding how to prepare for that future now.”

Ngandu told delegates who attended the inaugural AutoCAD Expo at Elephant Hills, Victoria Falls that Zimbabwe needs to rethink its educational system.

The expo, attended by Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education officials, CAD experts from Zambia and South Africa saw lecturers receive training in industry-specific packages such as AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD textile, AutoCAD map 3D, Revit and Inventor among others.

The Expo was also an opportunity to evaluate the implementation of AutoCAD in tertiary institutions.

Since the adoption of the education 5.0 philosophy and the time the country introduced STEM, many training institutions have started modifying their curricula.

However, despite the progress, Ngandu says the country still lags in technology uptake so much that the future that Zimbabwe for, craves is the “present in other countries.”

 Ngandu is an applications engineer who has worked with Autodesk (an American multinational software corporation) for over 18 years responsible for managing, training and implementation of packages in Africa’s educational and corporate sectors.

Over the years, he has worked with over 100 corporates in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and helped set up drawing offices for various companies.

The undertaking by ADC has drawn the attention of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education which is currently implementing a heritage based education system biased towards innovation and industrialization.

“As a Ministry, we fully embrace initiatives whose actions impact on the quality of life of our citizens,” Professor Fanuel Tagwira told delegates who attended the Expo.

The workshop is timely as it reinforces government ideas towards modernistion and industrialization agenda. AutoCAD will stimulate practical product design,” he said.

Zimbabwe has been lagging behind in CAD a situation that calls for urgency in the integration of ICT in educational programmes.

Bulawayo Polytechnic Principal, Gilbert Mabasa says a radical stance must be taken to stimulate industrialization.

“Instead of insisting on overhauling the curriculum we need to design a new one. The whole concept of design must change for lecturers, policymakers and students.”

Kushinga Phikelela Polytechnic Principal, Roy Mavhunga said design technology must be introduced at an early stage.

“We need to start at primary level so that pupils are accustomed to using design tools.”

Morgan Zintec College principal Dr. Tonderai Zenda had this to say; “If we want greater impact, design technology should start at teacher training colleges. Many a time we emphasize change at the wrong level,” Dr. Zenda said.

ADC has trained over 400 lecturers in Polytechnics and teachers Colleges since 2017 when it entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.

Under the agreement ADC is responsible for training CAD lecturers, installing latest AutoCAD software in laboratories as well as personal computers of lecturers and students.

Prior to this arrangement, institutions used pirated and old versions of the software. ADC has been pushing for AutoCAD programme to be part of the Higher Examinations Council (HEXCO) curricula.

In 2018, it facilitated for 17 tertiary education officials to attend Autodesk University training Expo in Cape Town to get an understanding of how AutoCAD is impacting industry and training.

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