Govt urged to suspend new schools curriculum

HARARE - Stakeholders have called upon government to drop the new education curriculum until there are adequate resources to implement it.

Several education experts who spoke to the Daily News said although the country’s education sector has lurched from one crisis to another, with teachers striking over poor working conditions and children dropping out of school because of economic hardships, there is need for due process to be taken before overhauling the current system.

Apex council spokesperson George Mushipe said the new curriculum, which introduces the teaching of languages such as Mandarin, is a welcome development but its implementation was rushed.

“Teachers did not receive full training, and they are not fully resourced. There is too much paperwork involved and until all stakeholders have been fully appraised, we will not be able to roll it out,” he said.

The seasoned educationist noted that there was need for extensive consultation before the new curriculum was put into action.

“We do not have to rush implementation and parents have been coming through to schools complaining over the whole issue. We will sit down as the unions next week (this week), come up with a solution and present it to the ministry,” Mushipe added.

This comes as government, through Education minister Lazarus Dokora, this year introduced a new curriculum which has been widely criticised and rejected by the majority of Zimbabweans.

Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) president Obert Masaure said the new curriculum was just a waste of resources as it was complex and involved new technologies for all schools, when the majority of institutions in the rural areas lack the requisite infrastructure and most teachers were not computer literate.

“They talk about introduction of computer programming and many areas do not have electricity. Some pupils do not even know how to switch on a computer and they are being told about programming. The teachers are not trained, how are they going to teach when they do not have the skills?” he added.

Masaure called for the resistance to this new curriculum.

“Our call to the teachers and students is to resist these changes. What came out of the new curriculum consultations is totally divorced from what is being presented by the minister,” he said.

He added that the new curriculum is putting most schools in a dilemma, as teachers and students themselves have no clue on what is going on.

“Another issue is continuous assessment of students from Form 3 to 4. They want to take 30 percent of the coursework to determine results, just like in universities. The exam will only contribute 70 percent. The problem is there are no set standards for all this, teachers have not been trained, and the students do not even know what is being done. This all spells disaster. It is all experimental at the risk of our children,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dokora said there was nothing wrong with the new curriculum as the country was simply following up on the Nziramasanga Commission.

“...In 2013 we began a process of consultation to update the recommendations in the light of the current global and context. Out of that, we were able to zero in on the recommendations that are possible to be implemented...,” he said.

According to the Nziramasanga Commission, Zimbabwe’s education curriculum was designed to train employees rather than employers or entrepreneurs.

The Commission, which was set up in 1999 to evaluate Zimbabwe’s educational requirements, observed that the national curriculum was inclined towards academics and recommended the introduction of vocational skills training in secondary schools.

This was after the country had realised that there was need to prioritise vocational skills as there were many pupils who were not academically gifted.

Education expert John Charema said unless the school system was restored to the success levels of the 1980s and 1990s, the schools, tertiary institutions, teachers, students and the whole educational sector will continue to decline.

“The problems that education is experiencing can be overcome with adequate funding, restoring the battered image of the teaching profession and reconstructing the run down infrastructure in schools, colleges and universities,” he said.

Charema noted that government must implement investor-friendly policies to revive the economy and reverse skills flight among teachers and lecturers.

Comments (6)

Mr Dokora should understand that the Nziramasanga Commission gave the recommendations in 1999 when we still had a vibrant economy and much better national resources compared to his implementation year.Though the recommendations are sound they are sadly betrayed by the lack of the necessary infrastructure in both schools and industry to the extent that the whole implementation process is untenable.

TONDORI - 14 February 2017

The new syllabi have no subject codes, no recommended text books lists ,just plain incomplete experiment tools.Innocent children use old beer-hall buildings as classrooms as shown by ZBC NEWS.Why implement Nziramasanga findings almost 20yrs down the line when so much has changed in terms of ICT ? Without adequate funding,grants ,lack of learning resources ,the new curriculum project will suffer a still-birth.

Realist - 14 February 2017

The new curriculum must be dropped and the minister must be dismissed for attempting to impoverish all our kids. He is not bothered because his kids are learning overseas.

Sinyo - 14 February 2017

I wonder if ever we shall have receptive Zimbabwean. Cry, cry and cry. This is resistance to change at its worst. If not now, when then? Difficulties or no difficulties we need to move forward. I think Dokora is right, go ahead and implement what failed to be implemented 20yrs ago. Zimbos just claiming good planners but implementation zero, come on, come on guys! There is no right time like now. Prepare the kids and stop being crying babies.

Handeyi Mberi - 14 February 2017

The Nziramasanga commission talks of introducing Vocational skills training in Secondary schools and yet the new curriculum or headmasters are doing the opposite . They are discouraging subjects like fashion and fabrics, food and nutrition, woodwork, metal work and building so where is the vocational part of it.

zivengi takesure - 14 February 2017

It is a blessing that almost everyone is coming to realise the implications of the tasks and projects continuous assessment system imagine doing 15 subjects & thats=15 projects LYK SERIOUSLY?....Gm

Tabeth - 25 February 2018

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