The scholarships Unit is responsible for managing the scholarships that are offered to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe by other countries or international institutional bodies such as SADC among others. This means that scholarships are offered to Zimbabwe under two banners, that is, the bilateral and multilateral arrangement.
A scholarship can be defined as a meritorious financial award that is given to a Zimbabwean citizen to pursue professional or academic studies in those manpower training areas that in short supply in Zimbabwe. The thrust of the Unit is to a large extent managing scholarships for purposes of pursuing training and development studies abroad. Scholarships can also be awarded for purposes of pursing training and development studies locally as well.
The scholarship system has seen more than 4 000 Zimbabwean citizens being trained abroad in critical manpower shortage areas such as Medicine, Engineering, Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Computer Sciences, Actuarial Sciences, Law and many others. The Ministry is greatly indebted to many donor countries and organizations for the invaluable assistance received since Independence in terms of manpower training and development.
Types of scholarships
Scholarships are broadly under two categories: the short and long-term scholarship programmes.
Short-term scholarship programmes are offered for purposes of undertaking specific training courses that have a maximum duration of up to 12 months. They normally cater for on the job training programmes. Short-term scholarships are sector specific, hence are normally referred to specific user organizations. Long term scholarships are normally for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
Long term scholarships are always advertised in the press, that is, in the Herald and Sunday Mail as well as Chronicle and Sunday News. This enables the Ministry to receive applications from all the 10 provinces of the country. Suitably qualified and interested Zimbabweans are given a maximum of 3 weeks to submit their applications to the Ministry.
After the deadline, all applications are captured into the computer system to create a database. From this database, specific reports can be generated for use.
The selection process is presided over by a highly technical and professional Interministerial Scholarship Committee.
The Permanent Secretary of Higher and Tertiary Education is the Chairperson of the Committee. The other Committee members are Permanent Secretary- Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, The President-Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers, The Executive Director-Research Council of Zimbabwe, Dean of Medicine- University of Zimbabwe, The Secretary General-National Commission for UNESCO-Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. Senior Ministry Officials carry out secretariat services.
The mandate of the Committee is to formulate policies and strategies on how to administer and manage scholarships efficiently and transparently bearing in mind the Government's manpower planning and development agenda. This includes among others interviewing the shortlisted candidates as well as approving the final list of candidates who would be awarded the scholarships. All decisions pertaining to scholarship issues in the Ministry rests with this Committee only. The Ministry Officials would provide the secretariat services.
Criteria for selecting candidates
· Excellent academic qualifications: at least a 2.1 degree aggregate at first degree level for postgraduate studies and at least 8 points at "A" level studies for undergraduate studies
· Provincial distribution- scholarships are considered a national cake, hence all provinces of the country should benefit
· Critical manpower shortage areas- scholarships should be provided and awarded to Zimbabweans who intend to pursue critical shortage manpower training areas. These areas of study are highlighted in 1.0 above
· Gender equity- In conformity with the Government's gender equity policy both male and female applicants are considered equally
· For undergraduate and postgraduate studies, the Scholarship Committee uses interviews as one of the selection criterion
· For undergraduate and postgraduate studies work experience is also considered as a determinant for selection
· Some donor countries now request for a thorough medical examination including HIV Aids
· Some donor countries also specify certain age limits for beneficiaries
Government Loans to study abroad
The Scholarship Unit is also responsible for managing loans for students studying outside the country. A loan is a financial aid that is awarded to Zimbabwean citizens who are already studying abroad and are in a financial predicament. This predicament would have been caused either by death of the main sponsor, retrenchment from work and other incapacitating factors. For instance, a student's sponsoring parent might die whilst the student is doing his/her final year of study. Honestly the Ministry has to assist so that the student continues with his/her final year of study to avoid a negative return on the investment already done. The Ministry's Committee would then consider such cases accordingly. If the applicants were found to deserve, then they would be given 100% loans. Unlike the scholarship mentioned above, loans are redeemable/repayable over a 5-year period after completion of studies. The loans are entirely a Ministry scheme. This means that its viability and sustainability depends on the availability of such funds. At the moment the scheme is no longer sustainable because the Ministry of Finance has not being allocating funds for such purpose. This is understandable given the competing national priorities for the nation that need funding.
Other Scholarship programmes
The Ministry also manages the welfare of students under the Fort Hare Presidential Scholarship Programme. These are students who have been selected under His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe's Fort Hare Scholarship Programme.
Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
New Government Composite Building
Samora Machel Ave/4th Street
Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
P.O Box UA 275
Kwame Nkrumah Ave
Telephone and Email