Lloyd Gumbo and Diana Nherera
The education sector is set for a major overhaul with Government identifying four major pillars that will guide the implementation of the new education curriculum. Primary and Second Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora told a Zanu-PF parliamentary caucus on Wednesday and legislators on Thursday that the new curriculum would significantly improve the education sector.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Minister Dokora said the four pillars included teacher skills development, schools infrastructure programme, teacher professional standards and a legal regulatory framework.
“In the ideal situation, we would hope to approximate 30 000 to 35 000 teachers enrolled in these programmes with five participating universities at any one time,” said Minister Dokora.
“Since its launch in July last year, about 2 500 teachers are already enrolled within the five universities that are participating,” he said.
On infrastructure development, the minister said Cabinet allowed them to explore the possibilities of using joint venture partnerships to deliver on the schools infrastructure.
“Work is at an advanced stage so that we will be able to inaugurate that programme. It will embrace teachers’ houses and renovations of classrooms, the construction of new blocks altogether and new schools indeed, particularly in the resettlement areas that are affected by settler school institutions,” he said.
Minister Dokora said there was also need to harmonise various legal instruments governing the education sector.
He said Government intended to collapse a number of levies, regulate the number of accounts that were held in the school institutions.
This, he said, was meant to bring precision in the way revenues were collected for the sector and applied for the benefit of the schools. He said on teacher professional standards, the curriculum review advocated the establishment of a body of professional standards that would lead to self-regulation.
“The hope is that, as we implement the whole curriculum, once it is agreed in Cabinet, we expect that the sector will also be able to regulate itself in a sense.
“Therefore, there is need for this agreed body of professional standards. In other terms, it will be akin to what obtains in other professional sectors in our country like health and the legal fraternity,” said Minister Dokora.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education embarked on a curriculum review in October last year and it is expected to include academic, vocational and technical training.
Some of the objectives of the new curriculum include motivating pupils to cherish their Zimbabwean identity and value their heritage, history and cultural traditions; preparing and orienting them for participation in voluntary service and leadership. There is also a section on the national school pledge with the infant pupils reciting the following pledge of allegiance: “Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies; I salute the national flag, I committee to honesty and dignity of hard work.”
For junior and secondary schools, pupils will be expected to recite the pledge of allegiance saying: “Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies; I salute the national flag. United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality. Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela and national liberation struggles.