HARARE, July 25– President Robert Mugabe has launched a 3.0 million US dollar capacity development programme for teachers aimed at creating opportunities for educators to upgrade their educational qualifications.

The programme is jointly funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), which is contributing 2.4 million USD, and the government, which is contributing the remainder.

The emphasis of the programme is on subjects such as science, mathematics, curriculum research and development, vocational education, languages and humanities.

President Mugabe said when launching the programme here Thursday that upgrading teachers’ skills was crucial in establishing the skills necessary to overhaul the country’s curriculum to produce students who are in touch with current demands.

“The products of the present curriculum are unable and some are unwilling to respond meaningfully to the signals from the labour markets,” he said. “Its products are employment seekers, not employment creators or wealth generators. We pay lip service to technical and vocational education.”

He said production of quality teachers was beneficial to the country as it allowed them to recognize the potential in every child they taught.

President Mugabe said there was need for revival of practical subjects among them agriculture, music and sport at lower levels of education instead of total concentration on the academic side as was currently the

He said the education system must also lean towards producing students who are patriotic and understand as well as value the independence and aspirations of the country.

President Mugabe appealed to parents not to stop their children from learning indigenous languages in preference of English, arguing that it put them at a disadvantage in the future. “All children can learn two or three languages at the same time.”

While Zimbabwe was lauded as the country with the highest literacy on the continent, President Mugabe said there was need for continuous research and revamping of the educational curriculum.

“Yes, we might pride ourselves on being top of Africa in regards to our literacy but that does not mean we know all there is to be known or we are at the end of the learning process,” he said.