Hallo my dear readers. I hope you are having a good time wherever you are! The ZIMSEC results came out and I know that some are confused about what career to prepare yourselves for. I'm going to give you a few gentle suggestions, which I can not be held accountable for in the event that my ideas don't work out too well for you (yes I had to say that so that some crazy person wouldn't end up suing me).
Before we start, let's learn a few Shona words:
Ine bhegi – it is lucrative
Chibaba – somebody who is really good at something
Ndakastikka paden - I'm at home doing nothing at all
So let's start by giving a brief overview of the education system in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, we've got ECD, primary school, secondary school and tertiary education. Primary school is from Grade 1-7. Examinations are written at Grade 7, and if one passes, they proceed to secondary school. Secondary school is divided into two sections - 'O' level which runs for four years (Form 1 – Form 4), and 'A' level that runs from Form 5 – Form 6 (we usually refer to these as lower and upper six respectively). ‘O’ level exams are written at the end of Form 4, and if one passes with at least five passes (5 C grades or more, with a pass in English + Maths + a science subject) they are eligible to proceed to 'A' level, where they write exams at the end of upper six and are eligible to apply to any local university (they can also apply to international universities).
The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) is responsible for the primary, and secondary school examinations. Those who prefer to use the Cambridge syllabus write Cambridge exams, though these are much more expensive than the ZIMSEC exams. I will explain more about the Zimbabwean education system in another blog post.
Now that we are acquainted with the basics, let's move on to the next topic
Begin with the end in mind
- I have passed my O level exams. What should I do?
Well that is quite a question! Let's talk about that
The point of going to school, and writing very many exams is for you to actually make use of those certificates in the future.
Don't go to school to:
• fulfill your parents unfulfilled desires and dreams
• Show off your certificates to your neighbors
• Get into a profession that everyone else in your family did for the sake of doing it
• Do a program that's perceived to be cool
• Do a program that your brother classified as a program ine bag.
So what should you do?
• First ask yourself – what exactly do I want these many papers to do for me?
• Do I want guaranteed employment?
• Do I want recognition?
• Do I even want these papers at all or do I want to do something non academic?
After asking yourself these questions, then proceed to the next questions. These follow up questions serve to ensure that the decision you've made is solid.
- Do I need to go for A level
Well this depends on very many factors. Let's make a simple decision making process:
If you've written your O levels twice and have less than 3 O level passes, then chances are high that you may find A level challenging. Try considering other options such as: repeating O level until you have 5 passes and look for a job, venture into a trade that doesn’t need O level at all, get well acquainted with the basics of self employment and start making money for yourself.
If you've written your O levels once and have 5 O level passes, then you’re eligible. You can go for A level.
If you've written your O levels once and have 5 good O level passes or more, then you’re eligible. You can go for a level.
- What if I don't want to go for A level
Think deeply about it. If I really can't convince you then here’s what you can do:
You can go to some international universities. Make sure to read the universities section that's below.
• You can get a job
• You can become self employed
• You can become an apprentice / enroll at teaching institutions / study nursing
- What course should I do at A level
I see many people getting lost at this stage. First ask yourself what do I intend to use these academic papers for in the future. The answer to that will guide your decision.
A level in Zimbabwe is basically divided into 3:
So which category must I choose?
Well I have a simple, fun activity for this. You will need to photocopy your O level certificate. Get 3 different crayons. Colour all arts subjects using one crayon. Choose another crayon for sciences, and do it again for commercials. Have a look at the grades in each colour.
The colour with the best grades is usually a good indicator of the category that is best for you. If you are weak in commercials, don't do commercials. If you are weak in sciences, you will only get worse and if you are weak in arts STAY AWAY FROM THEM.
When choosing a combination, make sure that you will be able to enrol for at least two degree programmes from a local university. If you can't, then it means your combination is rather bad and you ought to choose a different one.
Tip: To those doing science subjects, just do 3. I have never seen anywhere where more than 15 points are needed. Rather focus on the three subjects and get 3 straight As. There is no point in trying to become a Chibaba when there's absolutely no need for that.
Ps. A person with 15 points can get the same scholarship that you with 25 points are applying for.
- Which combination should I choose at A level
To do this, get a prospectus from at least 3 local universities. Have a look at the various degrees you can pursue with your combination. If you like the results then your combination is good, and even if you decide to learn out of the country, chances are high that you will get a good degree programme.
- I'm done with A level, what's next?
Well it's time to ask yourself what you want to do with your papers. Do you want to get into academics or not?… The list goes on.
Select whether you want to go to university. Remember, you don't really need a degree to achieve your goals, depending on what they are.
- I want to go to university. Which university must I go to?
Well if you’re really sure that you want to go to university then ask yourself what you want to do with your degree.
Remember your degree is an investment. The whole point of investing is getting your money back. Choose a field in which there is a very high probability of getting a return on investment. This could be in the form of a job, or a business that requires experience obtained from the degree programme.
That must help answer your question.
- Are there some universities that are better than others
Actually, yes. This depends on what you want to do with the degree. Lecturers are different, the culture in departments and universities differs, opportunities available at the universities are different.
At times some smaller universities beat larger universities, and at times some large universities outperform the smaller ones. It all depends with the degree programme you want to pursue.
- Any other Nuggets?
Always keep the end goal in mind. Don't get a certificate if you don't know what you will do with it in the future.
Choose good friends. They either make you succeed or they lead to your demise
When looking for a project partner, make sure you choose the best of the available options.
Getting a job is like gambling. Instead of wishing you'll get a job and praying it will be super lucrative, rather focus on what to do with your degree in the highly likely event that you don't get a job. If you don't do this then if you fail to get a job after 4 or 5 years in university chances are high that you'll say ndakastikka paden when your colleagues ask you what you are upto.
The world is going digital. This means that more and more things are getting automated. This means there will be a very huge pool of jobs in the electronics & electrical fields. In electronics- there will be a huge demand of hardware and software designers. As a result of the increase in smart devices and sensors there will also be a huge increase in data. This creates a huge demand of people who interpret the data and make meaningful use of it – Data scientists. This will also increase a demand in people who can use the data to make smart decisions and make relatively accurate predictions. This will result in the need for those proficient in the Artificial Intelligence field.
As a result of all of this hardware, smart devices and so forth, there will be a need to provide power for all these applications, which therefore makes the power generation (especially renewable energy) field very attractive.
So that's about it. I hope this post will help someone.
I have decided to come up with a steady blogging Time-Table. I will be posting blogs every week, on Wednesday at 6 PM.
I finally know how to use Instagram so I'm now active there too. As always. Don't forget to like and subscribe. Don't forget to say hie on the following platforms:
Twitter : @ maputiatota
Instagram : @ maputiatota
See you the week after next week!