Wild uproars have not yet settled down among the parents and some educational stakeholders ever since the day, talk of the implementation and adoption of a New Curriculum gathered momentum.
Different views have been aired highlighting areas within the new educational doctrine which have been discomforting the concerned citizens of Zimbabwe.
It is no secret though that the setting off of the New Curriculum was not well timed as some issues such as consultation with key stockholders were subsequently ignored. Not only that. There was also the issue of familiarisation which was overlooked and this only became evident when the first session of school terms was drawing near.
Teachers all over the country were complaining of not being aided with the syllabuses of this new ‘animal’ yet ironically cronies in the streets were cashing in from their deprivation.
Controversial Primary and Secondary Minister Lazurus Dokora has been in full swing motion trying by all means to defend his ‘sick’ new policy. The policy which make the already poor parents poorer is what he calls the real deal at the moment.
In as much as people can continue to cry against the crafting of this policy at a time the country is ailing economically,it should be remembered by all and sundry that there will not be any climbdown on the new stance which the Education Ministry has taken.
Another truth is in the eye that everytime an authority tries to implement a policy that it hopes will be of great benefit to those who will be affected by it,resistance rises from one section or the other.
While the truth is that the new curriculum requires a lot of financial injection into the education system for it to be fully implemented and successfully,it should be reminded to everyone that the curriculum revamp has been a long overdue exercise.
However,the new policy document has been containing some of the issues which have been raising alarm and public outcry. One of those grey areas lies with the issue to do with the stripping of Religious education from the early stages.
Religious education together with the scripture union have been downgraded from the new curriculum which means that the learning of religious issues will be very rare if not none existent for the school children.
In sharp contrast,Minister Dokora has been trying to downplay this reality by suggesting that students will now get the opportunity to learn a diversified religious subject that does not focus on christianity alone but on all religions around the world.
While this sounds like a good idea,scepticism and eyebrows have been raised by some well placed insiders that the Minister intends to indirectly introduce Islam into the education system through ‘indoctrination’.
From the onset there is nothing wrong in taking the ideal stance to let growing children embrace the full knowledge of the structure,composition and doctrines of different religions across the world.
This will help them have no negative perception of one religion of anyone who practices it. It is Minister Dokora’s wish(as he has been putting it) that his new religious formulae will help foster a new wave of unity and erodes stigmatisation of one religious sect in society.
Difinitely this sounds excellent in theory but not practically since deep studying of other religions might end up coming with big repercussions than the ones initially foreseen.
One of the negativities hinges on the deep studying of the Islamic policy document ‘Shariah Law’.
This law has been known to have led to the birth of many extremists who in turn have become unneccessarily too violent than their religion’s code calls for.
Shariah law is the law of Islam. The Shariah(also spelled Sharia or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad,which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran,which he dictated.
Shariah law itself cannot be altered but the interpretation of Shariah law,called “figh” by imams is given some latitude. As a legal system, Shariah law is exceptionally broad.
While other legal codes regulate public behaviour,this law[Shariah] digs into both public and private behaviour as well as beliefs. Of all the legal systems in the world today,Shariah law is the most intrusive and restrictive especially against women.
The following are some of the major specifications from the Shariah Law which the New Curriculum of Zimbabwe’s educational system might touch on as part of their students enrichment exercise:
ACCORDING TO SHARIAH LAW>
*Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand
*Criticizing or denying any part of the Qutan is punishable by death
*Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death
*Critizing or denying Allah is punishable by death
*A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death
*A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death
*A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death
*A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
*Girls’ clitoris should be cut(female circumcision)
*A woman can have 1 husband,who can have up to 4 wives: Muhammad can have more.
*A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce
*A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it
*Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman who in turn cannot testify in court against her rapist(s)
*A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases,carries half the weight of that given by a man and a female heir can inherit half of what a male heir inherits
*A woman cannot drive a car as it leads to fitnah(upheaval)
*A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
*Meat to eat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah i.e.,be “Halal”
*Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
* et cetra et cetra
Only the question that is starting to ring into the minds of many citizens is whether the new directive from the education system will see school children being imparted with the intrusive Shariah Law or just a base knowledge passivity.
All this if the New Curriculum is fully set in motion will be imparted on the primary and secondary education and by virtue of learning it they will deliberately or accidentally become part and parcel of some inhuman beliefs that are enshrined to be followed in the codes enlisted above.
It should be noted however,that this thesis has not been scribed in an attempt to attack any religious views hence including the supporting evidences to stress interested points.
Wilson Chipangura is a young author-cum-poet. At 19 years old he enjoys writing anything and everything. He writes here in his personal capacity.