National pledge 'for all Zimbos'

HARARE - Government is considering revising the controversial national pledge to make it apply to every Zimbabwean citizen, and not only schools, newly-appointed Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima said.

This comes amid raging debate over relevance of the pledge, which Mavhima’s predecessor — Lazarus Dokora — has fiercely defended arguing its wording was extracted from the preamble of the national Constitution adopted by millions of Zimbabweans during the referendum held three years ago.

Mavima told the Daily News: “For starters, we need that national pledge but it is actually a misnomer in the sense that it is only covering schools. What we need to do is to have a national discussion around that issue and then do the wording for it and...adopt it as a national pledge.”

“It can’t be ministry of Education (alone), it’s a discussion we have to take to Cabinet and then broaden it,” he argued.

Mavima has been reviewing the new curriculum introduced by Dokora at the beginning of the year, and has been holding consultations with educationists, deans of universities and teachers unions.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) indirectly supported Mavima’s move, saying the pledge has for the past year and a half been directed at the wrong market.

“We believe this is an undercover prayer that is unsolicited and targeted at the wrong market. The education system cannot pretend that it is the learners who need to be taught honesty and good morals. The pledge should be directed to high offices where corruption was invented. If those at the top become honest, our learners and other children will automatically follow suit. The hypocrisy is unnecessary,” the union said.

Meanwhile, PTUZ called on Mavima to attend to concerns over implementation of the new curriculum before schools open in 2018.

The union said the education sector was moving in a “faulty vehicle” and the end was predictable.

“The window of opportunity to rescue the learners’ learning times and intended outcomes is getting smaller and shorter and therefore there is an urgent need now for all stakeholders to find each other in relation to the new curriculum,” PTUZ said.

“The amount of resources required per child at infant and junior school to properly execute the demands of the new curriculum has placed a heavy financial burden on parents.”

PTUZ said schools were also burdened by that all primary schools have to teach at least French, Swahili, French or Chinese despite the fact that government is not recruiting teachers in those new areas.

In his 2018 budget presentation, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said government has made no provision for Early Childhood Development (ECD) adding that Treasury cannot afford to employ teachers for ECD.

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