By Blessings Mashaya
Three quarters of the 8 600 schools in Zimbabwe do not have electricity and computers, making it extremely difficult to implement the new education curriculum, a teachers’ union has said.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora has implemented a review of the school curriculum that emphasises the expansion in the capabilities of information and communication technologies for the development of new skill sets that enable citizens to live and work competitively in the global village.
But in a statement yesterday, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said Dokora was out of sync with the demands of the teaching profession.
“It is puzzling how learners can meaningfully learn computers when more than 70 percent of the 8 600 schools in Zimbabwe have no computers, let alone electricity. Fundamentally, there are no resources to use in teaching and learning of the new curriculum,” Zhou said.
Zhou accused government of being “diametrically opposed” to the provision of equitable and quality education.
“It is clear that both ministers (including Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo) are not only operating in unfamiliar ground, but are also guilty of selective forgetfulness and devoid of comprehension of the teachers’ job and responsibilities.
“A half-baked, constricted, arid, acidic and rigid curriculum has been introduced in 2017 without adequate resources, consultation and engagement of stakeholders.
“Dokora must stop seeing laziness and saboteurs behind every rubbish school bin in Zimbabwe and engage teachers in logical disputation,” Zhou said, adding that the new curriculum has overloaded teachers and learners.
“The average teacher-pupil ratio of 1:43 has entailed that teachers are overloaded and overworked, thereby creating time tabling challenges, with some schools even forcing teachers to teach during lunch time.
“PTUZ would therefore like to remind Dokora, his entourage, government and Zimbabweans at large, that the pre-requisite for successful implementation of a new curriculum are rigorous engagement, dialogue, adequate remuneration, recruitment and training of teachers, motivated teachers supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.
“The usual bellicose homiletics, grandstanding, pontification and maverick speeches from ministry of education officials are no recipe for success but tantamount to educational terrorism and vandalism”.
“This commandist approach that Dokora and his disciples have taken is not suitable to the terrain of education, where teachers’ dynamism, innovation and ingenuity must be tapped and harnessed for a skills revolution in education.”
While Dokora was unreachable for comment, he recently said government is yet to engage 2 300 teachers it wants to complement the new curriculum.
Dokora was responding to a question by Maramba Pfungwe Zanu PF legislator Mabel Kaundikiza in the National Assembly last week on government policy regarding the shortage of agriculture teachers in rural schools.
“There is the employer who should authorise me to employ. I should have the number of teachers that I require. Since last year, I have been requesting for a specific number of teachers, 7 000 in particular, but there is a government policy that I will be given 2 300 initially. I am waiting for the 2 300 to be released by the employer, the Civil Service Commission. I am still waiting for such a decision to happen,” Dokora said.
Zhou said Dokora must adequately engage stakeholders in policy formulation, reform and implementation.
“The new curriculum’s prescription of physical education, mass display (whatever this means), and heritage studies as core subjects, coupled with national pledge is reminiscent of Hitlerism and well calculated to produce narrow-minded students who parrot political propaganda,” Zhou said. Daily News