Govt introduces 9-year primary education

HARARE - Lazarus Dokora, minister of Primary and Secondary Education, has announced the introduction of four years of compulsory infant education, meaning nine years of primary education for schoolchildren.

Zimbabwe’s education system previously had seven years of primary school, although there has been a year of Early Childhood Development (ECD) class known as Grade Zero.

With this announcement, Dokora said there would be four years of infant education including ECD ‘A’ and ‘B’ and grades one and two.  

Dokora made the announcement at Johane Masowe Wechishanu Apostles national prize giving day held in Chitungwiza on Saturday, to recognise students from the church who excelled in their primary, secondary and tertiary education.

In a separate interview with the Daily News, Dokora confirmed the new move and said this was not a rushed decision.

Dokora said ECD teachers were being trained together with para-professionals who graduate from non-teaching colleges to fill up the vacancies.

“According to recommendations from the Nziramasanga commission it was said that five-year-olds must enroll in the ECD module,” Dokora told the Daily News.

“In 2005, the second module was also to be part of the primary school curriculum derived from the Nziramasanga commission. Consequently, most parents ignored module A and only opted for Module B.”

The government set up the Nziramasanga Commission in 1999 to evaluate the educational requirements of the country.

Dokora said in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe which demands quality education for all, the ministry’s structure will involve the infant school as soon as schools open.

“All I have done is to say to the ministry, module A and B are not optional. They are part and parcel of the experience of the young learner,” Dokora said.

“This new structure is now in the education system of the ministry.” 

He said the new system would equip infants with a basic education foundation that prepares them better for their later years in school.

The infants would be assessed at Grade Two, said Dokora.

“The children would be tested at Grade Two to check certain abilities and they would be tested again in Grade Six and then the final Grade Seven test,” he said.

Primary schools in Zimbabwe have been facing problems of qualified ECD teachers and the latest move is set to put new pressure on the Education budget.

Comments (63)

Is there something wrong with the present system?

solo - 9 January 2014

No there is nothing wrong with the present system. Just aligning it with prevailing global expert opinion and practices on early childhood development.

Simba - 9 January 2014

I think 1999 is too outdated to use, why cant a more recent enquiry be conducted and used? A lot has been discovered which should be included in the new structures... Just me thinking....

open minded - 9 January 2014

haa maya hatidi izvozvo. tirikungoda mvura nemagetsi chete chete. vaona kutivemacreche vaita mari saka vakuidawo.

dhiniwe - 9 January 2014

Sub A and B yadzika zve. Ndezvemahara here?

GogoVaitenga - 9 January 2014

I hope the resources for funding such a bloated education programme are there.What was wrong with the current education system which has produced the likes of Dokora himself who did not even attend grade 0, A ,B or whatever?

Tahir Iqbal - 9 January 2014

Imali yokubhadala amatishala ikuphi njengoba litshekiswa yilaba babalisi abakhona?/

dabulu khete - 9 January 2014

Four to five years kids will not be able to walk those long distances particulary rural areas where schools are sometime 10 to 15km away and apart from that the school infrastructure is inadquate for grades 1 - 7 what more of these kids who require specialised infrastructure. Who is going to test these 3 time at primary level whilst we have failed to revive ZJC. We are merely inviting more cost when the gvt is broke Minister. Its good idea where resources are available. Think of constructing more schools, more buildings, more lecturers to train these teachers, more teachers expanding the public service. Hameno maonero eduwo.

m - 9 January 2014

So now a child will be at primary school for 9 years, at secondary school for 6 years and then at university for at leas 3 years, making it 18 years at school. So now once you are blessed with a child prepare for two decades without some of your basic necessities. Kana une vana 4 then forget about new underwear.

machakachaka - 9 January 2014

this absolutely nonsense, whats wrong with the current education system? instead the guy must be concentating on adressing teachers resilience and remuneration. onve the latter is addressed, teachers are likely to reciprocate by more commitment to the education of our our childreen. the current state of edcation in zim is merely a reflection of the economic drought, pay the teachers you will have a motivated workforce who are more interested in the best results for the children. neglect the teacher and you have employees who are more worried abt making ends meet rather than the performance....thats what the minister must be trying to address not this nonsense...looking for relevance!!!

l - 9 January 2014

surely l dont see anything wrong with the current sys ,do we have the resources for that when we are failing to purchase the textbooks for the current sys,gentleman let us be serious kwete kungoti ndinzi ndataura mupress pasina kumbofunga.

HUngwe - 9 January 2014

Whilst the new changes might not be the best, current education system is not good either. Since independence the "O" Level pass rate has never been better than 20%. That is just unacceptable. There needs to be some changes

Tafadzwa - 9 January 2014

And where is the money coming from to pay for these extra years when parents are unemployed and starving.

Zims - 9 January 2014

"You can put lipstick on a pig, dress it up and do all you can to pretty it up but it will still be a pig". Everyone knows why the education system in Zimbabwe is dying. Many people who went straight from kudya sadza ne derere to grade one did well enough during the early 80s. because back then, there was funding in the school system, teachers were reasonably paid, there books and supplies in the schools, that's all that we need not more years of misery in empty schools and for rural areas, long cold walks bare footed to a school with no floors, no windows, and in some cases no classrooms. Shame on our leaders

tino - 9 January 2014

This education system needs to change. It produces consumers and not creators of wealth. Yes, the products of this system can make speeches, they can do poems but they can't make anything. They are taught to think sophisticated consumption of things they cannot make. Come to think of it, why is it that a Chinese child starting school at the same time as a Zimbabwean child ends up making the things that the Zimbabwean must buy in order to have? This education system was designed to deliver a failed Africa, period. It must go. Of course the new system needs to be supported by a visionary political leadership. That unfortunately is also our weakest link. The current "leadership" leaves much to be desired. Where on earth do you find a whole country living day by day without any hint of knowledge as to where we are going? We are educating these youths to deliber what? This is a major reason why the Chinese are colonizing is slowly but surely...we are a visionless, purposeless people and this is why we steal from ourselves.

Gandanzara - 9 January 2014

Common sense minus Nonsense: 9 years at primary level is not feasible. It just shows us that you have a warped mentality Mr Dokora. In any case what is the problem with the current education sysyem?

Baba Jukwa - 9 January 2014

Surely these are the thoughts of someone trying to run away from the real issues at hand. The new system will achieve nothing besides burdening the average Zimbabwean parent. The low pass rates have nothing to do with inadequate infant education but lack of funding by the government in the current system. The politicians are busy in corrupt activities. The current system when it was still functioning better before ZANU grounded the economy, it produced one of the best academics worldwide. Deal with the real issues not to increase the burden on an already overburdened population nxaaa

ME - 9 January 2014

1999 is to irrelevant a source to use in this coutry which is full of professors, doctors etc. I think Zimbabweans are wasting time hitinh the periphery of making experts. we spent lots of years learning lots of subjects which wont apply on field of work when you mature. tell these guys that what I wish is to have students finish Ordinary education at around time of finishing form two. then switch to specialized professional studies. thank you for publishing this article on what the minister is thinking

arthur - 9 January 2014

IF THE MINISTER CAN READ AND WRITE, TELL HIM TO GET SOME GOOD IDEAS FROM THE RESPONSES ABOVE. HE WILL LEARN ALOT

ARTHUR - 9 January 2014

Minister, why not learn from your older colleagues in government and send your children to school overseas. Siyana nezvekuda kugadzirisa education system yemu Zimbabwe. Hapana mari yaizvozvo. period.

Zvakaoma - 9 January 2014

I am totally against any further confusion in the education system. Mr Dokora, what makes you think you can change a working system overnight like that. Consultation is such a smart word sir.

McAaron - 9 January 2014

EHHHH we need a petition of some sort against this , are they serious , they do not have classes for ECD there are adequately trained teachers . two more years to current system . The salaries for teachers , extra costs infrastructure Development , kuzoti cost to parents

Hayasi - 9 January 2014

I have suggestion for my good friend who wants the pass rate above 20%,With the quality of ideas coming from the good Minister, I dont think he has problem in reducing the pass mark to 20%.South Africa did it and they are sitting at 78%

pipo - 9 January 2014

same same na chigwedere we same uniform nyika yose

last - 9 January 2014

Tshono,tshono!! Dabulukhethe

Nswelaboya KaMaqhingase - 10 January 2014

So these unfortunate minors would not have the blessing to play at an impressionable age, explorer, feel, taste, a necessity for normal brain development. What will we have; the kind of graduands who cannot marry theory and practical, like a university I know with about 30 000 enrollment asking the corporate sector to 'help out' by drilling boreholes at its premises (and helped out by UNICEF - children's funds helping out adults - late alone so called intellects) because the institute failed to do what it was supposed to do - put theory to practice from its vast pool of disciplines - and prove to the nation they are what they are known to be (I feel ashamed to be a graduate of this institute); experts. At the end of the day the education system will generate more theorists who have no practical encounter with the very adventurous environment around them (they will grow up in class all their growing up - what a blunder - imagine the urban kids, especially, who cannot relate what is in the textbook and the real world outside of class). And remember we need to use research findings with caution - consider the context - many of these research findings are developed by 'the developed world' which has a completely different setup than ours; industrialized, high rise buildings, not enough space for children to play so develop playgrounds and baby minding, etc. In that scenario you can have certain concepts work but come home, its more of 'imprisoning' the kids. All parents are unemployed (pronounced self-employed) so no need of baby sitter, therefore the child can do certain activities that 'prison' counterpart cannot afford. Learned and educated refer to two different planets.

SheldonCooper - 10 January 2014

if the teachers go on strike like what happened between 2007-2008, this means ECD is going to be 6 years or more, maiweeeeeeee.

Expecting a strike - 10 January 2014

Dokora akamboisa vanhu ve National Aids Council patight ku Chimhanda ndiripo uyu anopenga. Hanzi maimba muchiita praise ma employees e NAC but ini hamuna kundiimba wani yet these women were just appreciating the selfhelp projects they had been introduced to by the NAC employees which was benefitting them so I know he is an empty head. Anyway we have our kids going to school a.k.a creche at the age of 4.

Maita Manyuka - 10 January 2014

They "ministers" have nothing to do in the offices we elected them for that's why their heads are now full of all this rubbish. They are more than scared to think of the real problems so otherwise without this rubbish they would spend the whole day sleeping. Vana Chigwedere vakapedzesera voti ma-teacher ngapfeke uniform, zvinemusoro here?

chipoto - 10 January 2014

Apa tavakuvuraya chiVanhu.Mwana achizvagwa anofaira kutoga 7yrs arikumba kwavo nevemhuri yake,kuti awane nguva zhinji yokudzidza mutauro,tsika dzakanaka,kuchengeta zvipfuwo,kurima,kubika nezvime.Zvino mukangoti mwana pootanga kugona kutaura moswera makamupfigira muClassroom, menge muchimudzidzisa nezvei uye zvirizvaani nokuti zvokwake mamushaisa nguva nazvo?

gurajena - 10 January 2014

@Machakacha,apo mabaya dede nomumukanwa chaimo.zvipfeko zvemukati kuvabereki zvichanetsa tichingodzidzisa vana chete

Munhumutema - 10 January 2014

As Zimbabweans lets RESIST this NONSENSE, they are failing to pay the teachers or to fill in all the vacant posts in the education system but he is now creating more vacancies. endai munofa minister before u kill chinamasa ne BP

bidza - 10 January 2014

that defies any learning theoiries and child development theories.iam sure plato,piaget,haralambos,willturn in their graves.in any case why mend it when its not broken our education system has been highly regarded across the globe.focus on staff rentention and brain drain by rewarding skilled labour simple

xolisani - 10 January 2014

tarwadziwa ne MANDATORY, KUFUEL E5.E10.E15.E20.E.........., NOW EDUCATION 9 years, 10. 12 ......ivo they are not affected because vana vavo vari ku uk, SA,etc

robinsen - 10 January 2014

it never rains but pours. i guess its a delaying tactic to kip kids in schools for many years whilst they ponder a solution to address unemployment

Nyasha Mcbride Mpani - 10 January 2014

yes - activity as a substitute for achievement - automate the education process - bring in high quality free public domain educational videos and e-books which run on TVs and DVD players. http://cd3wd.com/

alex weir - 11 January 2014

Ban private creches and preschools. In any case, primary education used to be 8 years before 1970 when it went up to Standard 6 plus Substandards [A] and [B]. Just increase the quality of the subject content learned and deal with the public examination system and the marking of exams set by it so that there is no useless preoccupation with pass rates as happens currently. Now the country produces Grade 7, "O" and "A" Level graduants with wonder pass grades, who actually know nothing.

Michael Gwafa - 11 January 2014

Ma Minister Madofo anonetsa

Taonga - 11 January 2014

Glaring omission, Minister! Learning difficulties are not being addressed at all. Teachers are not equipped for Inclusive education and that's where our greatest challenge is. I sincerely hope that you have taken into consideration the class size for these models. The pupil-teacher ratio of 50:1 will kill the objectives of the model if it is not addressed. Adequate resource material, continual teacher upgrade and better pay, will go a long way in making this model work.

Themba - 12 January 2014

Firstly there is a shortage of classrooms nationwide and qualified teachers. We are so cursed to have this govt in power because it implements without thinking. This is what happened with the Land Reform Programme. ZANU (PF) must start thinking.

Sabhuku Chihota - 12 January 2014

I think the minister is scared! He does not want a succesful education system at all. We need a change at the top secondary education that will connect the child with real life issues. creation of secondary streams that are directly linked a specific industrial field so that we create innovative secondary school graduates where we can start introducing the students to specific professions and entrepreneurial skills. I guess Mr. Dokora fails to appreciate that students are capable of learning at that tender age. Stop that a let the minister of psycho motor education deal with that part- ndiro basa raHungwe ka iri you want him kuti aswere achirinda shiri kwa Chivi here

Grounded - 13 January 2014

Can the minister please focus on resolving the real problem which is poor remuneration for the teachers. This idea shows lack of insight and a mind devoid or detached from reality. Haven't teachers been warning the government with a strike if their remuneration issues are not sorted. A disgruntled worker also failing to raise money to send his kids to school cannot produce results. He would rather go out onotengesa huku kana matomatoes to make ends meet lest his family starves. Our neighbours have benefited from the mass exodus of qualified teachers because their conditions of employment her in zim are pathetic. Minister focus on the issue at hand not to be idealistic like what you want our children to become. Besides reason why maparents skip the part A of ECD is that we cann't afford it. Makawedzera Grade zero wats next, Grade -1 or -2

muzvikwereti - 13 January 2014

ko ini mubereki wacho mandipawo here mari inokwana kuti ndigoendesa mwana uyu 9years primary ?NDIYEUKEIWO IPAPO ......

ndinochema handina mari - 13 January 2014

The lions, cheaters (cheeters?) and leopards came and sucked the fresh blood and ate the fresh and tender flesh, now the vultures are coming to pick on remaining tatters on the ribs... of the same carcass!

Overman Sanatorium - 14 January 2014

The lions, cheaters (cheeters?) and leopards came and sucked the fresh blood and ate the fresh and tender flesh, now the vultures are coming to pick on remaining tatters on the ribs... of the same carcass!

Overman Sanatorium - 14 January 2014

Dont think this is good for us parents in Zimbabwe who struggling just to make ends meet. Yotongopereraka ku A, B.2,6 and 7 ikoko. Was so surprised 2day when I send my 5-year- old kid to school. She has been at creche, ECD and she was happy that this year was going to grade 'zero' only to be told that she has to start ECD 'A' then B next year. Mafees, tuition, bus levy etc bva ngaachiita mashomaka musaponde vabereki ava.

MHIZHA - 14 January 2014

Its very unfortunate that Gvt hates competition and as such pvt crèches will be put out of business, except for those that will meet a yet to formulated criteria, whose graduates will be exempted from this system. Am sure that someone has already been well advised on how they should ensure that their crèche survives. Whenever there is a change in Zim, its usually to someone's advantage, remember the number plates issue..? I suppose they are also trying to buy time before these kids start looking for jobs, in the meantime creating jobs for these ECD trs. How can someone claim that the problem all along has been that there were no trained ECD trs, when those in the mainstream are disgruntled with their salaries..? Fix the salaries for all the trs and challenge them to deliver! We've heard enough about the sanctions excuse, try to think in other terms to resolve the situation. Looks like the 31 July victory drum was not meant to last long after all...poor bob and his ever wailing wailers...! If I was bob, I would consider the North Korean style, go for Nuclear Arms projects, thoroughly threaten everyone as I enjoy life in my own world while my life lasts..!

mammoth castle - 14 January 2014

I wish we could go back to the era of the substandards A and B. Most of the people who wer educated during that system are hard working, fighters and know the difference between learning and education. Tisiireiwo vana pliz hatiwani zvakafanana

MUKANYA - 14 January 2014

So disappointed was thinking here comes the long awaited issue of non payment of school fees at Primary level according to the New Constitution

Nomendo Mpala - 14 January 2014

Guys zvimwe zvinhu hazvishande, why waste time for infants 9+6+4 and wait to rote at home because of no employment. Better improve life of employment seekers hey sesidiniwe bo!!!

Wayijukutsha - 14 January 2014

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