President Robert Mugabe says teachers are central and key in any curriculum innovation and that they therefore need to be strongly capacitated through provision of teaching materials of the new education curriculum.

Officially opening the 3rd Education Conference and Expo in Harare today, Cde Mugabe challenged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to use modern day best practices, saying the use of technology for innovative teaching and learning is crucial as large classes can be taught effectively by the use of computers.

The 3rd Education Conference and Expo brought together educationists, most of whom are heads and senior teachers from 9000 schools throughout Zimbabwe to interrogate issues of the new curriculum.

It also saw education ministers from Cuba and Botswana attending.

Experts and partners from South Korea, some government ministers and ministers of state were also present.

The President began by explaining the expectations from the new curriculum that was introduced by government where the education system should produce a well rounded individual who is capable of dealing effectively with the demands and challenges of life including working for themselves and producing entrepreneurs for the country.

“Upon leaving school, learners must have various fundamental skills that encompass problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, communication and teamwork. The new curriculum has a values-oriented system where learning areas that instil national values like self reliance, business culture, global awareness, inclusiveness and tolerance, among others, have been adopted,” he said.

He warned teachers not to be threatened by new innovation, saying his idea to introduce computers in schools was motivated by the need for one to continue learning and improving themselves.

From his own savings, Cde Mugabe explained that he would buy computers for donation to schools and his idea started getting support until he covered the whole country.

The President, himself a teacher by profession, recalled how he has contributed to the improvement of education in the country, going back to the time of the struggle for independence when behind bars he and other colleagues helped educate some nationalists who were imprisoned with them.

Cde Mugabe explained that after independence, he also ran home classes for some government officials and senior army personnel education.

The President ended his address by quoting famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote: ‘A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops,’ urging teachers to continue learning and continuously improving themselves and impart the best knowledge.

During the ceremony, some five teachers and heads were awarded certificates of excellence for distinguishing themselves.

They are Mr Munyaradzi Dzimunwe, a teacher at Seke 6 High School in Chitungwiza who caught an individual who wanted to sit an exam on behalf of his brother, Mutsa Yvonne Mawokomatanda who also caught another student attempting to commit a similar crime, Christina Moyo who intercepted a child thief, as well as Leonard Mutibu and Walley Muswera.

Various entertainment activities at the occasion displayed what the new curriculum has managed to do so far in the learners.