Along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway, about 144 kilometres west of Harare, in Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe lies Mutoko Centre, which is home to Munashe High Private School.
The brainchild of Mr Archiford Gwangwadze, a Mathematics teacher at Dendera High school in Mudzi, the school, which started from humble beginnings in 2018, is growing from strength to strength.
The learning institution has embraced the education 5.0 model, which emphasises practical skills and innovation as opposed to education that is purely academic and produces employees rather than employment creators. This model equips graduates from the school with practical skills they can use to sustain their livelihoods and assist their communities.
Some of the income generating projects found here are tombstone making, bee-keeping, agriculture, chicken farming, metal work and dog breeding. Talking to the learners here one gets the impression that they are confident and focused, their confidence stemming from the knowledge that they are contributing in their small way to the community’s food security through their activities.
The Zimpapers Group Editorial Executive, Mr William Chikoto recently led an editorial team to the school to interact with Munashe’s Zimpapers Junior Media club members under its “catch them young,” mentorship programme, and was amazed at the level of innovation and enterprise at the school.
Mr Gwangwadze, who is the director, is excited about the growth of the school which he says started off as a backyard garage but is now an impressive institution that is the envy of Mutoko and its environs.
Asked how the idea of the school came about he said “ndezva Mwari. I cannot say it is my cleverness or anything, but God enables us.”
Mr Gwangwadze has big plans for the school, including constructing more classroom blocks and boarding facilities. He also has ambitious plans to incentivise teachers at the school.
“I want to get to a stage where I can buy all my teachers cars. They should be able to choose brand new cars of their choice, that is my dream,” he said.
The various projects being carried out at Munashe benefit the local community including teachers and learners who buy fresh produce from the school gardens. Organic fertiliser is mainly used and the Zimpapers team was impressed by the thrivng vegetable garden. They grow onions, tomatoes, and cabbages among other vegetables.
Proceeds from the vegetable gardens are ploughed back into the education system and the money has been used to sponsor educational trips to Harare and elsewhere for members of the Zimpapers Junior Media Club.
Mutoko is home to black granite and this gave the school authorities an idea for learners to carve tombstones using the resource which is in abundance in the area.
They also produce braai stands and “tsotso” stoves which are environmentally friendly as they use less wood, meaning that not many trees will be cut down to feed into the stove.
The visit to Munashe school was part of the Zimpapers programme of ‘ploughing back to the community” by teaching learners in different high schools across the country journalism and media skills.
Mr Chikoto said eventually some learners will receive sponsorship from Zimpapers to undertake media and journalism studies after graduating from high school.
“It’s not all of you who will want to pursue journalism but we hope some of you may want to do so and Zimpapers will sponsor some to study journalism at different institutions.”
“This is just the beginning or introduction. We will return to conduct proper workshops where you will be taught how to write stories,” Mr Chikoto said.
The learners were addressed by the Zimpapers Editorial Executive Mr William Chikoto, The Suburban newspaper editor Itayi Musengeyi and Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) Head of Output, Ishmael
Also in attendance were The Sunday Mail Gender and Community Editor, Fatima Bulla-Musakwa and Zimpapers Public Relations and Communications Manager, Pauline Ndawana Matanda.