‘Dokora must consult’

PLANS by Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora to revamp the education curriculum have set tongues wagging as stakeholders and educationists insist there is need for serious consultations before any policy is changed.

Elias Mambo

Although stakeholders agree that a review of the education system is long overdue, they insist Dokora should engage stakeholders and educationists to get advice on what direction the educ
ation system should take, instead of unilaterally making decisions.

Since his appointment Dokora has introduced a cocktail of policy interventions which include, among others, the banning of extra lessons at public institutions and fund-raising initiatives by Students Development Associations, cancellation of incentives for teachers and Form One entrance tests, suspension of development projects and recently the introduction of hot sitting in schools.

He is also changing the syllabus of all primary and secondary schools.While some educationists are supportive of curriculum change, they are worried by the lack of consultation.

Former Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart said the curriculum needs to be revamped but in a proper manner.

“The curriculum is in dire need of revamping as it was last done in 1986. However it needs to be done in an apolitical way by educationists not politicians,” Coltart said.

“I do not know what the current government wants to introduce but under my tenure I wanted educationists to review and reform the curriculum to ensure that it was brought up to date.”

However Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe, said the Education minister needs to be properly advised before the education system collapses again.

“He (Dokora) needs to consult stakeholders including parents on where he wants to take our education system. He must not politicise our education system so that it serves purposes of the (economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation) ZimAsset.

“Parents are furious over a number of interventions by Dokora with the latest being that the Cambridge examinations will be banned.”
Government also banned payment of incentives to teachers by parents and guardians claiming to “restore sanity and equality in the education sector”.

In an interview with this paper Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said his association is looking forward to the curriculum review but said the minister has to investigate what needs to be done.

“Our curriculum is not aligned to the needs of the economy so as an association we are looking forward to this process,” Ndlovu said.

“It must be noted that the whole process should be done properly with all stakeholders including parents and industry being involved in the consultations,” he said.