Indigenous languages policy excites GokweHigher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira

THE Gokwe community has welcomed the call by the Education ministry for teachers to be conversant in at least three indigenous languages, a move which they said will improve the pass rate.


Speaking at the commissioning of classroom blocks in four Gokwe North schools, Chief Nenyuka said the region has been looked down upon for a long time due to low pass rate and slow development, and said it is high time for the community to showcase its talent and intelligence.

“Our children have been performing dismally at school not because they are dull but because most of them understand the Tonga language, which makes it difficult for them to grasp concepts that are taught in a language they do not understand or have less knowledge about,” Nenyunka said.

“I want to applaud the government on its efforts to bridge the language gap and I am pleading with the ministry to make sure that they send more Tonga speaking teachers in our area to improve the pass rate.

“We are not saying the Shona and Ndebele teachers who are already in the schools are bad, but we want more Tonga teachers who would make learning easier for the pupils in lower grades.”
This comes after the Education ministry had proposed the introduction of a new policy whereby students at teachers’ colleges are required to learn at least three indigenous languages to ensure that they can be deployed anywhere in the country.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira said the policy shift in terms of languages was meant to ensure diversity and inclusivity regardless of ethnic background. The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has also said primary school teachers must be conversant in at least three indigenous languages by the time they finish their training for them to be employable.

According to government policy, the language of command for infant classes and the first three years of primary school is the mother language. The ministry’s permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela said in line with the ministry’s policy, the deployment of teachers at infant level takes into consideration the language of instruction, especially the mother tongue spoken by the learners themselves.

“Since learners are supposed to learn in their mother’s language in the first four years of their education, the ministry requires a trained primary school teacher to know at least three indigenous languages because that will be the medium of instruction … from the 16 official languages it is possible,” Thabela said.

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