EDUCATION minister Lazarus Dokora’s unilateral changes to the curriculum continue to stir a hornet’s nest while also torching a storm nationwide.
CANDID COMMENT BY FATH ZABA
Dokora last month introduced far-reaching policy changes without consulting key stakeholders. He introduced a new curriculum, which provides a complete overhaul of the education system by adding new subjects at a time government is struggling to provide per capita grants to schools to source textbooks.
Among the subjects he has introduced are Mass Displays, Indigenous Languages as medium of instruction and probably the most controversial of them all, Islam. Subjects such as Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Education, Mass Displays, Mathematics and Science and Social Studies (Family and Heritage Studies) are now going to be taught from infant level.
Compulsory subjects at O-level are now Agriculture, Physical Education, Sport and Mass Displays, General Science, Mathematics, indigenous languages, English language and Heritage Studies. In addition, students can choose a maximum of five elective subjects from Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Economic History, Business and Enterprise Skills, Commerce, Economics and Principles of Accounts, among others.
Dokora has tried to justify the introduction, saying the new syllabus was meant to modernise the education system to be in line with modern technology. However, he did not take into consideration the fact that the majority of schools in the country lack the requisite infrastructure and most teachers are not computer literate.
Such has been the national outrage to Dokora’s bizarre move that MPs from both Zanu PF and MDC-T this week, in a rare development, teamed up to show their displeasure. They roundly castigated Dokora.
This latest policy is one of his many controversial, or should I say ridiculous, decisions since he has been in cabinet. Dokora has made policy pronouncements that have baffled and angered stakeholders in equal measure. Instead of focusing on key policy issues that improve the education sector, Dokora has been obsessed with issuing downright uninformed directives that are detrimental to the sector.
This disastrous curriculum review adds to the preposterous policies that include the imposition of the national pledge on pupils and the banning of entrance tests for Form 1s, which have brought about confusion and great distress to parents and students. It is no exaggeration that Dokora is one of the worst ministers ever appointed by Mugabe given the chaos the minister has caused since his appointment in 2013. He has in less than four years reversed the gains made in the education sector since Independence.
Dokora seems pre-occupied with introducing policies that destroy the education system at a time he has revealed that the country has a shortfall of 2 056 schools. One would think he would expend his energy and time on tackling that challenge head on than introduce outrageous policies that cause more harm than good.
The sooner this nutty Dokora is removed from this vital ministry, the better it will be for the education sector.