Nyoni speaks on Ndebele teachers shortage saga

Sithembiso Nyoni

Nkayi North MP Sithembiso Nyoni has said government is forced to deploy non-Ndebele speaking teachers in the region because there is a shortage of qualified Ndebele speaking educators.

The deployment of non-Ndebele teachers in some schools in the region has always attracted criticism from local communities especially in rural areas.

Last month Silobela community in Matabeleland North rejected non-Ndebele speaking teachers deployed by the government to take early childhood development classes in their Donsa-Donsa area.

In October 2021, parents of pupils at Mbembesi Primary School in Insiza, Matabeleland South protested against the deployment of teachers who do not speak local languages.

The area is dominated by Ndebele, Xhosa, Kalanga, Tonga and Venda speakers.

Nyoni, who is also the Small to Medium Enterprises minister, said the problem can be traced to lack of qualified Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland.

“That is why you should educate your children so that when someone is a non-Ndebele speaker to teach grade one to three, we should be able to go to responsible offices to exchange that person with our own local teacher,” Nyoni said.

Nyoni made the remarks when she was being quizzed during a discussion forum known as the Nkayi Community Parliament.

The platform operates like the National Assembly where leaders and other stakeholders are often taken to task on matters affecting Nkayi district.

“The problem we have here is that we still have no qualified Ndebele teachers here,” Nyoni said.

“If they are available, the government policy states that a child must be taught in their mother language from grade zero to grade 3."

According to Nyoni, the solution lies in local communities pushing for the construction of more secondary schools and establishment of tertiary institutions in the province.

“(Zanu PF politiburo member Patrick Chinamasa) told me they sat down as leaders in Manicaland and mooted a strategy of educating their own children to teach in their schools,” Nyoni said.

“He said unless we in Matabeleland do the same, we will be led by outsiders.

“He said as a result in Manicaland they have more than five colleges and a university.

“They sit down with village heads and all the children are sent to school and as he was speaking there was no place for an outsider to go and teach in their area.”

In 2018, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry announced that it will make it mandatory for trainee teachers to be proficient in at least three languages by the time they finish their training.

The ministry said early childhood development learners should be taught in their mother language or the language they understand.

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