Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka

Former Minister of Education in Zimbabwe; Former Chair of the Association for Education Development in Africa (ADEA)

“Education Leadership through Crisis” is a multi-week video series featuring wisdom from a diverse group of education leaders.

Below, watch highlights from host Mubuso Zamchiya’s interview with Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka, Zimbabwe’s first Minister of Education following independence, about his experience taking charge of an education system that was racially segregated for years during colonialism, the importance of building good will, and his advice for education ministers trying to build back better during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scroll down to watch the full interview.

“That for me, would be the message I would like for ministers of education who are confronting COVID and going beyond COVID: Be a visionary! Think of things that no one can even dream about! The world advances because of dreamers.”

Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka

Former Minister of Education, Zimbabwe

Meet Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka

Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka served as the first Minister of Education and Culture for Zimbabwe upon its Independence from 1980 to 1988, and as Minister of Higher Education from 1988 to 1989. He currently serves on the Governing Board of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program, Big Win Philanthropy, Vitol Foundation, Teach for All, Educate!, and Results for Development. He is also a member of the Luminos Fund’s Advisory Board.

He is the former Chair of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), which brings together all African Education Ministers and donors supporting education in Africa. From 1990 to 2007, he held various senior management positions at the World Bank in the education sector.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Dr. Mutumbuka held other major political appointments in Zimbabwe, including as an elected member of parliament. Before Zimbabwe’s independence, he served as Secretary for Education and Culture in the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU (PF)) from 1975 to 1980 and was responsible for manpower development and the education of all Zimbabweans in refugee camps in Mozambique.

He has a B.Sc (Hons) from the University of London and a PhD from the University of Sussex.

View the Full Interview

Question Breakdown:

1. (0:36) What was it like taking an education system from the start of independence in Zimbabwe onward?

2. (20:54) One of the continual challenges education ministers face is having adequate funding to effect system change. How were you able to pull together the resources that you needed in your tenure as Education Minister to accomplish the goals you set?

3. (27:00) Before Zimbabwe’s independence, you had very few resources. How did you operate in that circumstance?

4. (36:44) Winston Churchill once said, “Never waste a good crisis.” What is it about your journey that gave you the mindset and ability “not to waste a good crisis,” but instead to innovate and be creative?

5. (41:08) In the context of COVID-19, what would be your advice to education ministers right now trying to build their education systems back better?

6. (49:19) What are your thoughts on timing for children to go back to school?

7. (51:14) What messages or encouragement might you have for parents and children?

8. (57:08) What is your opinion of the visions cast by Julius Nyerere (1st Prime Minister of Tanganyika/1st President of Tanzania) and Kwame Nkrumah (1st Prime Minister and President of Ghana) on reforming the education system in African countries post-independence? How have we progressed since those visions were cast?

9. (1:09:30) What was your favorite book when you were growing up? What is it today?

 “I think that one of the mistakes that educators make is to think that education is the province only of the ministry, or only of teachers and students. Education concerns everybody in society. And it is very important for the new minister, or the post-COVID minister to understand that education is a corporate responsibility.”

Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka

Former Minister of Education, Zimbabwe

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