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Cain Mathema agrees with Mthwakazi

by Staff reporter
12 Apr 2021 at 07:01hrs | Views
PRIMARY and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema has reiterated the need for children in primary school to be taught by teachers conversant in local languages which is a rallying point for Mthwakazi Republic Party. However, Minister Mathema said parents should never go to schools to remove teachers who cannot speak the local language as there were set channels to address such grievances.

Minister Mathema said his ministry recognises all the 16 languages recognised by the Constitution as the country's official languages but the education policy requires children at primary school level especially pupils from ECD up to Grade Three to be taught by teachers who speak the local language.

Unlike during the colonial era when only three languages IsiNdebele, Shona and English were prioritised, Zimbabwe has fostered the use of 16 languages including sign language to cater for citizens with disabilities.

Previously dubbed minority languages, some of the languages have even made it to public Grade Seven examinations and of late some of these can be studied up to degree level at tertiary institutions.

Minister Mathema said locals must be prioritised in recruitment of teachers in different districts. He said in terms of the laws and rules on the appointment of teachers, every region of Zimbabwe has to have teachers from their areas. There are more than 4,6 million learners in Zimbabwe and nearly 140 000 teachers.

"All our languages are taught at schools and this is why we are saying at ECD level, we now need teachers who speak the local languages. You can't have a person who doesn't speak the local language teaching ECD pupils," he said.

The Minister said the country's education system promotes languages and cultural heritage.

"Our education systems should promote our languages, history and cultural heritage. We now know ourselves better than before unlike in the past when we were taught that Africans are primitive," he said.

"In fact, it has been scientifically proved that human beings started 300 000 years ago in what is now Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia." Minister Mathema said Government does not condone interference by parents on issues of teacher recruitment.

"We hear that at some schools parents actually chased away teachers. That is not a good thing. If parents have complaints, they should approach district education offices for a procedural solution to grievances," said the Minister.

Last year in June, Government launched the indigenous languages' radio lessons programme for ECD, primary and secondary school classes in response to the closure of schools due to Covid-19.

The indigenous languages' radio lessons programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in partnership with the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education engaged external assessors and subjects specialists from a pool of teachers from various schools in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.

The ministry is targeting to have radio lessons aired in all the 15 languages spoken in Zimbabwe.

Source - chronicle