By Nicholas Nhede
HARARE-The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has engaged in a Teacher Capacity Development Program with the Great Zimbabwe University to curb the crisis of a shortage of teachers teaching local languages in the country’s remote areas.
The program which starts this year at the university in Masvingo is expected to produce 200 new teachers who will teach Tonga in Binga, Venda in Matabeleland South, Nambia in Hwange, Shangani in Chiredzi as well as Chewa in Muzarabani from Early Childhood grade to ZGCE Advanced level.
Addressing journalists at a press conference held in Harare recently, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora confirmed the development which he said will go a long way in alleviating the crisis.
The development comes at a time when schools in this country’s remote rural areas such as Hwange, Muzarabani and Gwanda are experiencing very low ZGCE examinations pass rates due communication challenges between teachers and pupils as teachers are not aware of the local languages spoken in the areas.
In an interview with 263Chat, Public Relations Officer in the Education Ministry Patrick Zumbo said the program is also one of the ministry’s efforts to enhance the examinations pass rates in schools located in these areas as it will produce teachers equipped with the various local languages which have been under exclusion since 1980 as Teachers Colleges and Universities only concentrated on equipping their students with Shona, English and Ndebele.
Schools in these rural areas are relying on teachers deployed to them from urban towns by the ministry, a system which Zumbo said has failed to uplift the education standards as it results in communication constraints and further pushes towards the exclusion of minor local languages such as Venda, Chewa and Shangani into the country’s curriculum.
The Teacher Capacity Development Program will also result in an enhancement of the livelihoods of the people living in these rural areas as it will also produce teachers who will fit into the new curriculum which is consisting of technical subjects such as bakery, horticulture, technical graphics and metal work so that students are able to create employment for themselves when they leave school as regulated by ZIMASSET, said Zumbo.
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