New curriculum plans alarm teachers, parents

The proposed introduction of four foreign languages as compulsory subjects in government schools has been greeted with shock and horror by teachers and parents.


The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education this week released details of its draft curriculum framework via The Herald, saying students would have to study Chinese, Swahili, Portuguese and French.

In separate interviews, teachers’ union representatives said they were perplexed by the announcement as government had hinted to them during discussions on the curriculum review process that there was need to revive local languages.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) National Coordinator, Ladistous Zunde, said the announcement came as a shock and expressed skepticism on the government’s capacity to implement plans to introduce foreign languages.

“It is quite obvious that government has neither the financial not the human capacity to do this. What we gathered from meetings on the curriculum review process was that there was need to concentrate on local languages. There are teachers who are being trained to teach those subjects in schools.

“There was never any mention of foreign languages. We have tried to engage the Minister following this announcement but he has not yet responded,” said Zunde. Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, said the plans were over-ambitious. “Because of the current economic situation, I do not think government will be able to sustain that. All the proposed changes in the curriculum will hinge on its capacity to deliver in terms of financial resources and manpower. “We do not have the capacity to do that and I was very surprised to hear about those plans because what we know are the plans to introduce local languages,” said Ndlovu.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Lazarus Dokora, was evasive when contacted for comment. “Where did that come from? I think you should go back and read the article again and then you come back to me,” he said.

Parents said the move was ill-timed as the country was facing an economic crisis.

“In my view, this could be a good idea but the problem is that it is being talked of at the wrong time. The government is failing to pay teachers on time and I do not see them being able to pay the teachers who would teach those foreign languages,” said Lovemore Chitsa, 34.

Another parent, Melody Mukusha, 39, said: “The fact of the matter is that this project will not be implemented any time soon. I think the government is just trying to be overzealous and they are turning a blind eye to the economic situation, which will be the biggest hindrance.”

Post published in: Education

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