Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE dropping of Dr Lazarus Dokora from Cabinet does not mean that Government will reverse the new education curriculum introduced early this year, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
President Mnangagwa made some adjustments to the original list of Cabinet ministers that was announced on Thursday last week in order “to ensure compliance with the Constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs” — a development that saw Dr Dokora being dropped as Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and his replacement by his former deputy, Professor Paul Mavima.
The development was met with wild celebrations by some parents and teachers who thought that Government was going to reverse the implementation of the new curriculum.
However, in an interview yesterday, Prof Mavima said the new curriculum was irreversible because it was not started by Dr Dokora but was a product of recommendations made by the Nziramasanga Commission set up in 1998 under the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training (CEIT).
The commission was chaired by Dr Caiphas Nziramasanga, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
Rather, Prof Mavima said his ministry was going full ahead in implementation of the programme after Government released $9million for material to be used, especially by schools in the rural areas.
“There is no going back on the new curriculum and that should be clearly emphasised to the nation. This is not or was it a product of Dr Dokora as an individual,” said Prof Mavima. “It’s a Government policy aimed at aligning our education stands in line with international best practices which now focus of technical, engineering, art, mathematics, physical science with emphasis on public displays and our national pride as being Zimbabweans. That is the essence of the new curriculum unless the nation wants us to go back to the 1990s,” he said.
Prof Mavima said the education system had taken a new trajectory in the 21st century and Government must migrate from the outmoded curriculum used in the post-colonial period.
“Zimbabwe has to be at par with the rest of the world and that is only possible through this new curriculum which is not reversible. We are rather going full speed ahead with issues to do with implementation and equipping or resourcing of especially the marginalised schools so that they are able to implement this new curriculum. As you know Government released $9million for the purchase of materials to equip marginalised schools so that they are able to implement the new curriculum with ease,” he said.
Prof Mavima said the new curriculum included motivating learners to cherish their Zimbabwean identity and value their heritage, history and cultural tradition and preparing them for participatory citizenship.
It will also prepare learners for life and work in an indigenised economy and increasingly globalised and competitive environment and ensuring learners demonstrate desirable literacy and numeracy skills, including practical competencies necessary for life.
Other aims of the new system are preparing and orienting learners for participation in voluntary service and leadership and fostering life-long learning in line with the emerging opportunities and challenges of the knowledge society.
The new curriculum was introduced at the beginning of the year and transitional classes — Early Childhood Development, Grade One, Grade Three, Form One, Form Three and Lower Six — are implementing it.