Reviving a Culture of Post –Secondary Learning among the Modern-day Zimbabweans
Ishmael-Muchumayeli Bhebhe, Ph D.
Leading Change II
Professor: Jim Lacey, PhD
Franklin Pierce University, NH, US
February 21, 2013
By the dawn of the 21st century the local job market and various other reasons had made it extremely necessary for Zimbabweans to acquire post-secondary education. As a result, Higher education or College level learning had increasingly become a significant part of the local culture and/ or way of life to the point that it had become a societal obligation which most young and elderly adults would aspire to acquire come what may. However, due to the emerging adverse factors both locally and some surrounding nations, this culture has since started to die. The same parents, relatives, friends and communities that used to motivate and encourage the young and old to stay in school at least until college or university, have lost hope in these institutions. The most common questions have become: So what will those books give you? Is it really necessary to stay in school? Why not start a business and/ or find something that will give you money right now than invest in an education that may not pay you back? And so on. Moreover, such questions are also fueled by the general view that some of these African people are ‘Pragmatists’ or people mostly concerned with practical and pragmatic results rather than with the theories, ideas and principles. And any meaningful learning especially for the adult population may have to be directly connected to meeting real needs of the people in the here and now. However, some of the noticeable causes of this gradual death of a culture of life-long learning are a part of what Thomas J. Chermack (2011) referred to as the ‘STEEP forces’. Some that can be discernible in the Zimbabwean situation include the Political situation, the Economic environment, the Social situation and the Technological terrain. And some of their major highlights include, the country's political unrest, the prevailing hyperinflationary environment, the fluctuating prices of goods and services, the emergence of corruption and bribery, the shortage of employment resulting in both professionals and non-professionals having to compete for inferior jobs in other countries, a shortage of technological gadgets, etc. Nonetheless, given both the prevailing situation and the forces behind, this paper maintains that post -secondary learning has a value surpassing any one of its negative factors. And it pursues its goals mainly from the point of view of scenario planning and some complexity science ideas. Nonetheless, this paper is not necessarily proposing that all important and advanced learning will only take place at formal institutions. In fact, most African societies including Zimbabwe thrived on non-formal learning for many centuries before the advent of the colonial era. Learning was believed to be a life-long process always happening at all times and places, and also as a virtue embedded in all life situations. Actually regarding the ongoing process of learning, in the local IsiNdebele and ChiShona languages they say, “ukufunda hakupeli”, “kudzidza hakuperi” meaning ‘learning does not end and/ or that we learn everyday’, respectively. However, in order to meet its goals, this paper focuses on post-secondary education that takes place at formal institutions. Above all this study perceives the situation as a dilemma than a problem because of the view that this is a complex, ambiguous and deeply rooted case that has various sources and solutions (Chermack, 2011, p.4).
The following is a general description of four of the key forces that are pertinent to the revival of the culture of post-secondary learning in Zimbabwe. The four forces: political, economic, social and technological are...
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