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Mining Giant Invests in Science for Rural Schools  

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Platinum mining giant, Zimplats has built and equipped two state-of-the-art laboratories worth  US$270 000, at Wanganui High School in Ngezi District, Great Dyke News 24 reports. 

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the laboratories at the school yesterday, Zimplats Head of Corporate Affairs Busi Chindove said the initiative is part of the company’s 5-year programme to build science laboratories within the district of Mhondoro Ngezi and in Chegutu district.

“As Zimplats we want to have scientists coming from Mhondoro Ngezi. What touched me the most was that during Covid-19 we were seeing on television what was happening in other countries and we would hear that there were Zimbabwean citizens who partnered with others in doing the research that contributed towards us getting vaccines from other nations. It was nice knowing that some of the researchers were from Zimbabwe, which made us proud.

“We did some research of schools within our district that had science lab facilities and that is why we have embarked on this programme. It is a 5-year programme in which we will be building science laboratories within the district of Mhondoro Ngezi and also within Chegutu district. 

“The work we have come to do at this stage at Wanganui High School is not for the first time. We have invested before in the expansion of the school in 2012. 

“We invested more than US$1.3 million in infrastructural development at the school with investment going towards new classroom blocks, ablution facilities, teacher’s houses and ensuring that the school has got running water.

” It is against this background that we were approached to work on this particular project that we have come to witness today and we are pleased that in one case, yes we built a science  laboratory and equipped it but we also want to acknowledge the work that had been done by the school and parents in starting the form 4 laboratory because the form 6 laboratory is the one we built from scratch but the form 4 laboratory we also want to acknowledge the work that has been done by parents and the SDC in putting the structure. What they then asked us to do was to finish the structure and equip it which we were pleased to be able to do,” she said.

She added that the investment which they believe will bring long-term growth and opportunities for the learners includes the provision of gas reticulation and chemicals for use in the laboratories.

“The investment we have done here falls in line with the pillars in which Zimplats invest. We invest in the pillars of education and skills development, the pillar of local enterprise development, the pillar of community well-being, and the pillar of sport. 

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“ For this particular school, the relevance is that the people who built that laboratory are one of the local enterprises that we sponsor and invest in. 

“It makes us feel proud that there are local enterprises from Mhondoro Ngezi who are able to do the work that we are witnessing today. We believe that our investment here bridges the divide between urban and rural areas and we are committed to building more science laboratories and investing in more initiatives that will continue to improve the skills set in our host communities so that we can proudly say in the future we have created a base for more scientists in our country and those scientists will be coming from Mhondoro-Ngezi,” she said.

Speaking during the same event,  Mashonaland West Acting Provincial Education Director, Gabriel Mhumha said it’s time schools move away from teaching theory only, but to improve on the practical side for the benefit of students.

“Science is critical, science is about innovations and science is about inventions. Let us move away from teaching the history of science to teaching science, the moment we do that, we are going to produce scientists who are productive, who are going to bring new phenomenons within our development agenda as a country. 

“This investment is also going to add a lot of value to our STEM subjects or learning areas. If we were offering 10 pure sciences to 10 learners for 2023 it must be double. We want to see larger enrolment in our sciences because the specialist rooms are there and are well equipped and in that way, we will be assured to get a bigger number of scientists in the whole world,” he said.

The member of Parliament for Mhondoro Ngezi Tavengwa Mukuhlani said the initiative is great in the sense that it will create a number of scientists from his constituency.

“I want to thank Zimplats for the efforts that they have put in this school to make sure that we will have scientists from this constituency. Today the labs are for Wanganui High School but this is an asset for ward 1 to ward 11 for those who care to want to learn. I cannot overemphasize the importance of science in our community, in our country, and in the world at large,” he said. 

Zimplats Holdings Limited (Zimplats) is owned by Implats and is located on the Hartley Geological Complex on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke southwest of Harare. Zimplats operates both an opencast and an underground mine at Ngezi. The Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC) where the ore is concentrated and smelted is located some 77 km north of the mine.

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