Outrage over foreign language studies

HARARE - Scores of Zimbabweans yesterday took to Twitter to express concern over the proposed introduction of foreign languages — Mandarin, Portuguese and Swahili — in schools’ curriculum.

According to a government document published in the State media, the move will promote Ubuntu/hunhu, equality, inclusivity and diversity.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) organising secretary Raymond Majongwe castigated the move.

Writing on his Twitter account, Majongwe queried the logic behind this new curriculum.

“How does teaching of Mandarin promote Ubuntu?” he asked rhetorically, adding there are many people who cannot speak local languages, while government is now focusing on introducing more foreign languages.

“…ask how many of our ministers can speak isiNdebele. All because they want us to go and order toys and phone parts from China,” Majongwe said, after one of the Twitter users Precious Nyakudya asked: “Why are they not getting taught Shona or Ndebele in Beijing?”

Despite the controversy surrounding the introduction of the foreign languages, which some said is mainly political, several citizens also queried if the government had enough teachers who can be able to teach the children the said languages.

“#Zimbabwe students to learn #Mandarin, #Portuguese & #Swahili. Good idea, but where are the teachers to teach these languages? Expatriates?” Twitter user Paul Sixpence asked.

While other citizens welcomed the move as a good initiative, they also raised concerns over the government’s capacity to pay these teachers at a time they are struggling to pay salaries for the existing civil servants.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu told the State media that the introduction of the foreign languages will empower pupils with relevant skills.

“We have neighbouring countries like Mozambique which use Portuguese as the official language of trade. We want our learners to be able to use such languages so they succeed in their pursuit of international opportunities,” he said.

However, another Twitter user Sympathy Sihawu Moyo said, “…teach Zimbabweans our own languages. Let’s see the importance in ourselves 1st. We shud (should) all b (be) able 2 (to) speak at least 3 local languages.”

Zimbabwe has 16 official languages that include Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, with English, Shona and Ndebele being the most widely spoken languages in the country.

Comments (4)

Before introducing Mandarin, Swahili and Portuguese, Dofora should introduce Sindebele and Shona in ALL schools up down and across the country.

Ubuntu Chaiwo - 19 January 2017

Ubuntu you are 100% correct Shona and Ndebele first one get difficulties when in Bulawayo .What is Mandarin which African country speaks that kind of language Portugues and swahili yes.

Chatambudza - 20 January 2017

Oh no. Swahili first. The whole world should speak Swahili or not speak at all.That is mankind's mother language. Man originates from OL Duvai Gorge, Tanzania. How can mankind thereofre have problems speaking the language of his forefathers? That would be rank madness to say the least.

Tovela - 20 January 2017

udofo hwa Chigwedere hwaiva nani

Mvolaki - 20 January 2017

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