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UK: Gran told 'too old' for student loan graduates from university at 79; retired nurse recalls Rhodesia hospital sacking for anti-racism protest – New

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LONDON: Graduating from university is a major milestone for students across the UK. For some it symbolises the opening of a new chapter and for others it’s the realisation of a dream come true .

And for one great grandmother, gaining her Masters degree at the age of 79 after fighting racism and discrimination, was something she always wanted to achieve.

While living in her retirement home an hour and a half outside of London, Florence Zengeni saved up her weekly allowance in order to graduate with a Masters in Business Administration.

Only weeks shy of her 80th birthday, the mum-of-five with 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren says she hopes to inspire her whole family and to use her degree to start a charity and help those in poverty.

Many years before graduating, Zimbabwean-born Florence worked as a nurse earning £14 a month. She used her salary to pay for her six siblings’ educations as her father only earned £22 a month. The healthcare worker then became an accidental activist after seeing the ill treatment of babies at her hospital in the capital of Zimbabwe – Harare.

Florence said: “There was a lot of racism towards the patients. Because it was a Black hospital, and the [white] nursing sisters were mistreating the patients. Beating young children, young babies that were not well.

“One day, there was a small baby who was very ill and the baby was just crying and crying. I was giving medication in the ward and the nursing sister came, lifted the small baby and started beating the baby and threw the baby into the cot.

“I was so angry, I didn’t know what to do. I was so angry then when I left I took the baby and put the baby in my hands and calmed the small baby and put the baby back in the cot.”

After that incident, Florence and her fellow nurses organised a strike and marched in their nursing uniforms to the Ministry of Health to state their grievances. But soon after the protest, she was expelled from the hospital.

Florence rallied nurses to fight against the horrors they witnessed at the hospital (Image: Florence Zengeni )

The former nurse thought her “career was over” after she got “blacklisted” from working in the industry. But an opportunity came up and the mum-of-five was able to move to Zambia and work as a private secretary. She then convinced her boss to allow her husband to go to university and they both travelled to America.

Afterwards, she returned to Zimbabwe and found a job working on a four month temporary contract for an electrical company. But due to unfair hiring practices, she says she was let go after one month because a staff member feared she would take her job.

Florence said: “Unfortunately, I worked there for one month. The secretary who was working there thought there were no African secretaries who could do her job.

“When I was leaving that organisation, one of the directors who was very nice to me – they were all white and he said to me, ‘you know what Florence, I want to tell you the truth’.

“He told me, ‘it’s because this woman is scared you’re going to take her job if you continue working here so she’s coming back’. I was so angry and I left.”

Florence says she went on to work for a mining company which led to working for the Ministry of Mines until she saw an opportunity to attend university in Canada. Afterwards, she worked as a lecturer – teaching and empowering students. She even went on to set up a night school which still stands today in Zimbabwe.

Several years later, the former nurse moved to the UK and graduated from Liverpool University after saving her weekly allowance to complete the online course.

She said: “I was thrilled when I graduated. I have always wanted to do that to encourage my children, my grandchildren especially.”

Her granddaughter Yvonne who studied at Kingston University in London says that her grandmother has inspired her to further her education and pursue a PhD.

Florence has inspired her granddaughter Yvonne to do her PhD (Image: Florence Zengeni )Yvonne said: 

“I wasn’t going to do it but now I’m starting to rethink that because obviously if she has a masters we now have to take the baton further.”

Florence says that some of the people at her retirement home doubted she could finish her Masters because of her age, as well as the department of Student Finance who she says refused to grant her a loan.

She said: “When I was doing it, some of the [people in my retirement home] were like, ‘you are too old’, and I said, ‘no, I’ll finish this.’ When I went to Student Finance, they said, ‘you’re too old’, so I said, ‘I will come back and tell you that I’ve completed my degree’. So I still need to go back and tell Student Finance I finished my degree.”

The mum-of-five who grows onions and Covo in her garden and cleans her own flat, decided to save money by having meals at her grandchildren’s homes while using her retirement allowance to pay for her university tuition of £19,500 through a weekly arrangement.

Florence said: “I paid for myself. I don’t owe anybody. I was not working so we are just given an allowance every month and I used it for that. I struggled and I saved it. I used to go and eat at my children’s houses and [my granddaughter Yvonne] used to buy me food, I hope she will come and buy food again this month.”

Yvonne says that she could barely get a hold of her grandmother while she was studying and that she would wake up at 2am to study and that many under estimate how difficult it was for the 79-year-old.

She said: “Every time we used to call her, you know you call your gran for a chat, she would be like, ‘I don’t have time to talk’, it was hardcore. People think, ‘oh she did her Masters’, but you don’t factor everything that happens with Masters. Factoring in that when she started she had to learn how to use the computer, in terms of saving files, even when editing – which programs to use. How to use the university software and all of that stuff.

“So that alone, besides even just doing the course – it was a major learning curve for her. I’m just awed by what she did.”

Nowadays, the 79-year-old organises events at her retirement home where she says her friends have experienced a different side of life because of her.

She said: “Every year I organise a function for them here, just to get together and just enjoy themselves. They have seen a different side of life from me.”

The 79-year-old says she believes that education can empower people and hopes to continue her work through setting up a charity.

The Zimbabwean-born nurse endured racism and fought against it at the hospital where she worked (Image: Florence Zengeni)

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Zimbabwe president urges emphasis on science and technology education to boost global digital economy –

Developing countries should place more emphasis on science and technology education to better prepare the young generation for opportunities in the digital economy, according to Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa made the comments in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the 2022 World Economic Forum.

“The future of business, of development, wealth creation, now depends on the digital economy,” he said.

“It is important that in particular the developing countries like ourselves in Africa and possibly Latin America and some parts of Asia, we have to put more focus now in our institutions of higher learning – our universities – to focus and promote science and technology in our schools, so that the younger generation should embrace science and technology in order to be relevant in the digital economy of the future.”

Mnangagwa’s comments came as the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced a new initiative to boost flows of digital foreign direct investments globally.

The agreement will see the DCO and WEF work together to identify methods to increase digital adoption, investment in new digital activities, and investment in digital infrastructure.

In his address, the Zimbabwean Head of State all countries ought to embrace a digital economy for the future.

He pointed out that his administration is attempting to embrace the digital economy, and he urged others to do the same.

“We are attempting to embrace e-government, e-commerce, e-education, e-construction. Everything is now digital,” he said.

The 2022 WEF meeting is the first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is set to run until May 26.

Happening under the theme of History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies, the meeting will have 200 sessions attended by more than 2,500 leaders and experts.

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Prem Rawat Visits Zimbabwe Prison & Peace Education Program Expands – Yahoo Finance

Prem Rawat met with incarcerated participants in the Peace Education Program and supportive officials who are planning to expand the wellbeing course to all facilities across Zimbabwe.

LOS ANGELES, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Prem Rawat recently visited Zimbabwe for the first time, meeting with incarcerated people who have participated in the Peace Education Program and supportive officials from the Prisons and Correctional Service.

Speaking in the capital city of Harare at the May 12 event, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) Commissioner-General MCN Chihobvu applauded the Peace Education Program, noting that it is having a positive impact on offenders as well as staff.

“Extending the Peace Education Program within our institutions has seen the transformation of lives, especially those who were treated as high-risk inmates,” he said. “Similarly, some members of staff have also participated in the Peace Education Program, which has demonstrated to be highly regarded as a self-discovery and empowerment vehicle that can help in addressing social ills. … The program is undeniably changing lives for the better.”

Over 850 incarcerated people and 150 corrections officers have already participated in the program in Zimbabwe and ZPCS is planning to expand the workshops to all facilities across the country. The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) recently fulfilled a request by the ZPCS to provide the audio and video equipment and course materials needed for implementation.

In his talk at Harare Central Prison, Prem Rawat encouraged participants to take the lessons of the Peace Education Program to heart and to live with a sense of empowerment over their own lives.

“You have the power to change. Nobody needs to bring in the power to change; you have the power to change. You have the power to see what is good. But it has to be all about you. And that is the reason why the Peace Education Program works, because it places you at the center,” he said. “Today is the day you need to make that change. That kindness you need to start with, has to be today, not tomorrow. You know what the difference is between today and tomorrow? Very simple. Today comes. Tomorrow never does. When it comes, it becomes today. So, don’t be fooled by the word ‘tomorrow.'”

The Peace Education Program was created to help participants from all walks of life discover their own inner strength and personal peace. Excerpts of Prem Rawat’s inspiring talks are at the heart of the program workshops, giving participants the opportunity to focus and reflect on their own humanity and their inner resources such as choice, hope and dignity.

At the Zimbabwe event participants were given the opportunity to ask Mr. Rawat questions and express their learnings.

“The Peace Education Program helped me to navigate through feelings of revenge and feelings of anger that I had within me,” said one of the Harare inmates. “I am a changed, better person. I can now easily forgive others,” said another.

One of the correctional officers who facilitates the program told Mr. Rawat that he regularly hears from participants who say that, “If I had known about this program earlier in life, I would not be in prison.”

The experience of those in Harare echoes the results of a study that found that 89 percent of 604 incarcerated participants in four continents benefited by helping them feel empowered to face past events, gain a willingness to change, better manage their anger and avoid fighting.

Commissioner-General Chihobvu was first introduced to the Peace Education Program in 2019 by TPRF volunteers at an International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA) conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

More recently, in March of this year, South African Peace Education Program representatives Anne Wolfson and Ernest Leketi visited Zimbabwe to meet with ZPCS officials and to help pave the way for Prem Rawat’s event and the program’s expansion. Many ZPCS representatives have been key to the developments including Dr. Granisia Musango, Deputy Commissioner General, Zandile Sibanda, Director for Rehabilitation and Reintegration, Phanuel Takaza, Deputy Director of Rehabilitation and Reintegration and Nokuthula Wutta, Principal Correctional Officer.

“Thank you to our wonderful partners at ZPCS for hosting the great event with Prem Rawat and to everyone who is working to ensure that more people have access to this life-changing program,” says Willow Baker, Peace Education Program Director. “It all happens thanks to the generous efforts of TPRF’s volunteers and contributors and the enthusiasm of its founder.”

Learn more about The Prem Rawat Foundation here.

Media Contact

Jake Frankel, The Prem Rawat Foundation, 1.310.392.5700, [email protected]

Mary Wishard, The Prem Rawat Foundation, 1.310.392.5700, [email protected]

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SOURCE The Prem Rawat Foundation

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Number of students in Delhi govt schools rose by 21%: Delhi Deputy CM – India Today

Speaking at the World Education Forum 2022 in London, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Monday that the number of students enrolled in Delhi government schools rose by 21 percent in the past seven years. He made these remarks amongst 122 education ministers and experts from across the world.

He went on to remark, “When I speak about the future of education, I do not only mean the future of the students who are studying in schools but also of families, societies and nations.”

“Education today is not only about educating those who are uneducated and under-educated but also about educating those who are being miseducated,” the deputy CM said further.


Speaking about the government schools in state, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “In 2015, there were student accounts of a collapsing government school system — dilapidated classrooms, outdated curriculum, zero facilities and no dignity in learning.”

“Government school students were certain that they could never contribute to India’s future. However, we changed that perception in just a few years,” he remarked further.

“Today, Delhi government schools have become world-class. The schools are equipped with modern buildings, smart classrooms, and grounds with excellent sports facilities,” the deputy CM added.


Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia who also holds the education portfolio for the national capital went on to remark that Delhi government schools have become better than private schools.

He further added that parents send their wards to Delhi government schools with great pride because of this.

He further remarked, “Compared to 2015, at present, the number of students in Delhi government schools has increased by 21 percent. Our students now achieve nearly 100 percent pass percentage, surpassing private schools’ results.”

The deputy CM added, “Also, there has been a steep rise in the number of students qualifying for prestigious exams every year.”


Talking about the changes his government brought to government schools, Manish Sisodia said, “As a government, first of all, we asked the school principals and teachers to share their vision for their schools rather than telling them what they need to do.”

“There was a 10-fold increase in principals’ financial power and they also got the authority to appoint support staff and resource persons,” the deputy CM added.

He said further, “Capacity building and exposure of school principals and teachers in Cambridge, Finland, Singapore and Indian Institute of Management paid rich dividends.”

“About 25 percent of the total state budget is allocated to education every year, making it the highest in India among the state governments,” the deputy CM added.


Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia further informed the audience about the Delhi government’s new curriculums, such as the Happiness Curriculum, Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum, and Deshbhakti Curriculum.

“We, as a part of the government, only need to make the educational settings engaging and dignified,” Sisodia stated in response to questions from Zimbabwe’s Education Minister about reducing the dropout rates in schools.

(With PTI inputs)

READ | Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia distributes laptops to over 5,000 specially-aided students

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