New curriculum proposals cause concern

The proposed new primary and secondary school curriculum seeks to compel children to salute the national flag and recite a pledge of patriotism every day.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora

"The proposed curriculum review will include introduction of a national school pledge for the infant school module, junior and secondary school to instil values of pride to be Zimbabweans," Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Arts Sport and Culture.

He said the infant school pledge would entail children saluting and reciting the words: "Almighty God in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag, I commit to honesty and dignity of hard work".

For the junior and secondary school levels, Dokora said the national pledge would be a longer version which would take on matters of diversity, freedom, acknowledgement of mothers and fathers who lost their lives in the struggle and commitment to honesty and the dignity of hard work.

Dokora said the words to be used in the school pledge were derived from the Constitution. But MDC-T MP Nicola Watson Brown said there was likely to be resistance to the pledge by some sections of society due to religious beliefs.

"If people challenge it, I am willing to stand by it. Other jurisdictions like America have a school pledge and every day they recite it," Dokora said.

MDC-T MP Concilia Chinanzvavana said Dokora should explain if industrial attachment for children at Form 4 or lower would not constitute child labour.

But Dokora said the issue had been misunderstood as the proposal was not really that children would necessarily work in industries, but that it was to facilitate them to acquire life skills such as driver's licences before they left school.

He said resources permitting, teachers might have to be trained to administer and examine the driving examinations, adding even if most industries in the country had closed, experts of different fields might visit the schools to impart knowledge to children without necessarily having them go on industrial attachment at factories.

If adopted, the new curriculum will be operational in 2016 and will have a seven-year lifespan before another review.

Under the new curriculum, 50% of a learner's grade will be determined by weekly continuous assessment and the other 50% based on examination grades.

Post published in: Education

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