By Auxilia Katongomara
Government has allayed fears that pupils will undergo compulsory National Service training soon after completing Ordinary Level as a requirement from the new curriculum, an official has said.
Responding to teachers at a curriculum symposium at Mzilikazi High School last week, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the curriculum had been misunderstood.
“There was never a suggestion to send pupils for National Service after O levels prior to A level but there was talk of life skills orientation. We want pupils to have life skills orientation by the time they complete their Ordinary levels,” said Prof Mavima.
“They have to know and have an understanding of how things work out in life.”
He said the tasks being undertaken in schools are to prepare the pupils for life skills.
Minister Mavima was responding to teachers’ concerns at the symposium as they quizzed him on the issue.
The teachers said it was a matter of concern just like other contentious issues in the new curriculum.
Former President, Cde Robert Mugabe mooted the idea of compulsory national service for pupils in 2015.He said national service was paramount for youth development and to maintain high moral standards and self-discipline.
“We want to enhance our national service training. It is an important training indeed. We would want to get to a stage where every student will have gone through national service training at O-Level, so we want to build resources towards that.
We will do it at stages progressively until we have enough funds to cover the whole country so that we have a paradigm shift in education. In other words, our education system is stereotyped. There is too much emphasis on just academic subjects,” he said.
Prof Mavima said there were a lot of misunderstanding regarding the new curriculum with some speculating that Scripture Union had been banned.
He said scripture Union had not been banned and would continue as a club in schools but the ‘preaching aspect’ during studies had been removed as it violated other people’s religions.
He said pupils in schools were of different religions hence each religion would be taught in ‘part’ and not dominate other religions as the constitution stipulates freedom of religion.
He absolved former Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora from claims that he was trying to remove Christianity in schools and replace it with Islamic religion.
On those re-writing public examinations after having previously failed their studies, Prof Mavima said they would not be affected by the new curriculum.
“I have instructed our technical team to work on that. No one should be disadvantaged when they want to supplement,” said Prof Mavima. The Chronicle