Zimbabwe pledges EDU maximum support at the highest level.
After many months of negotiations and contact between Senator David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture and H.E. Irving Levance, Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, agreement has been reached in principle for Zimbabwe to participate in EDU and to host its Headquarters in Harare.
Rich in symbolism, the decision to locate the Headquarters in Zimbabwe has been described as courageous and far sighted by African politicians and diplomats, who welcome the move as a vote of confidence in the SADC Region and a positive step in the re-engagement of Zimbabwe in the international arena. Currently Harare hosts no Intergovernmental Organization Headquarters and the EDU decision is a matter of great pride and prestige to the country.
Consolidating on this initiative, the Secretary-General met with prominent Zimbabwean statesman and diplomat H.E. Hebson Mr. Makuvise, who pledged his full support to the project and who assured the Secretary-General that EDU can expect maximum cooperation and support at the highest levels from Zimbabwe.
Mr. Makuvise, who is entrusted with representing Zimbabwe in Germany, Poland and Switzerland as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, outlined Zimbabwe’s educational situation in detail. In a display of gracious hospitality, he personally ensured that the Secretary-General’s tea-cup remained filled, rather than delegating these duties to his staff.
Mr. Makuvise confirms that both he and Senator Coltart are keen to rehabilitate the education sector in Zimbabwe which has suffered due to problems over the last 12 years. Schools are ill-equipped with inadequate books, lack of teaching aids and staff shortages. The country has suffered a severe brain-drain of qualified teachers leaving to work abroad. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have been the major beneficiaries of this migration of talent and capacity.
The Ambassador stated unequivocally that Zimbabwe needs EDU cooperation as well as support from international donors to support and enable Zimbabwe to rehabilitate and restore its educational capacities. Teacher training is lacking and sports education is poor, despite an excellent tradition in these areas. EDU accreditation would be a major boost in these fields, he affirms.
The situation is particularly unfortunate since Zimbabwe used to be an exporter of quality education to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and other SADAC countries. Mr. Makuvise is keen to see projects like EDU used to re-establish that capacity and to offer incentives to reverse the Zimbabwean Diaspora.
Zimbabwe is aware, the Ambassador states plainly, that although the country is fully engaged in Asia, re-engagement has not been achieved satisfactorily with western countries such as the USA, European countries and Australia. He acknowledges that this impacts negatively on the country and its current situation.
He sees cooperation with the Intergovernmental Organization EDU www.edu.int as a bold step on the path to full re-engagement.
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