Non-Ndebele speaking teachers to stay put

Sukulwenkosi Dube Plumtree Correspondent
GOVERNMENT will not remove non-Ndebele speaking teachers from primary schools in Matabeleland as there is a critical shortage of trained teachers, a senior official said yesterday.
Speaking at the commissioning of an administration block at Tjehanga Primary School in Bulilima, Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director, Tumisang Thabela, however, admitted pass rates were low because of this development.

“Children who are being taught by a teacher who is not conversant in their mother language take long to develop. It also takes a long time for the children to be able to relate to their teacher and let alone have an understanding of what they are learning,” she said.

Thabela said the education policy requires children at primary level to be taught in their mother tongue adding: “It is impossible to realise this if the teachers are not conversant in the mother tongue.”

The PED said it was unavoidable to get teachers from other provinces as some trained teachers from Matabeleland did not want to work in rural schools.
“We recorded a performance lag in our schools when trained personnel left the country. A number of teachers shun rural schools especially those in remote areas and the least we can do is fill teaching gaps even if we have to employ personnel from outside.”

Recently, the row over deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland schools spilled into the courts with seven suspects appearing before a magistrate for storming a school and demanding the removal of the headmistress.

The group, comprising villagers from Makuzeze area and Mthwakazi Joint Youth Resolution members, allegedly connived and confronted Makuzeze Primary School head, Victoria Pasipanodya, saying she should leave the school because she is Shona speaking.

Thabela said Bulilima and Mangwe Districts accounted for most of the vacant posts in Matabeleland South.
She said the province was terribly understaffed even in terms of management.

“About 55 percent of teachers that we have in these two districts are trained and the rest are not. In the whole province only 50 percent of the Science teachers and 40 percent of Maths teachers that we have are trained,” said Thabela.

She said throughout the province only Beitbridge District had fully incorporated the local language — TshiVenda — into the education curriculum.
Thabela urged schools to develop infrastructure to facilitate better learning of science subjects.

“If we are going to teach subjects at our schools let us have proper infrastructure and adequate learning material for the purpose. It is of no use if we are going to offer pupils Science subjects but without labs for them to learn from,” she said.

“In fact you will only be issuing children with half-baked information and at the end of the day it will be impossible for them to score high grades.
“Once the laboratories are established they should be fully equipped so that we can produce children that will be competitive on the job market,” she said.

Thabela applauded Tjehanga Primary School and the community for building an administration block, saying it was a significant development in the smooth running of the school.

The school’s headmistress, Tshengisiwe Mtandavari, said the school’s administration staff had been operating from a single room all along.

Pin It
  • Jotham

    The PED is right and very rational in his comment.Rural schools are shunned by well trained teachers(both Shona or Ndebele). The working conditions are terrible. Most professional teachers had rather go to urban centres or migrate to neighbouring countries rather than be deployed in the rural areas. Whilst it is of paramount importance for children to be taught in their mother tongue – it is of no use to avoid the facts on the ground. Well trained Ndebele teachers had rather go to Harare(cities) rather than teach in a rural set up. The current shonas who have opted to be accommodated in rural schools will catch the next bus if the opportunity arises for them to go to the cities. All poor performing schools are in the rural areas(most remote areas). Those who are going crazy about this issue are not even teachers at all.

    • Lewis Jones

      One does not have to be a teacher to understand the situation. I am a concerned parent and that’s sufficient in my opinion. As far as I know, teacher posted to remote areas are given incentives, so why would only Ndebele teachers want to decline. Jobs are scarce, so tell me, who would be so naive as to refuse an employment opportunity like this? Stop justifying injustice Jotham! It’s people like you who make Zimbabwe the sorry place that it has become.

      • Lewis Jones

        One more thing Jotham; tell me just how many non-Shona speaking teacher are there working in remote Mashonaland?


      You are insulting Ndebele speaking people my dear friend. There are no Ndebele speaking teachers who shun the rural areas but the truth is most places in our teacher training schools are purposely filled by people from non-Ndebele speaking areas. Go to any teacher training institution today n find out how many Ndebele speaking students are enrolled. If this is not purposely marginalising Ndebele people then what is it.

      Our children need to be advantaged n not disadvantaged period.


    • maprie!

      Kanti mnumzana Jotham, who is deploying the teachers? Are those Ndebele teachers you say they rather go to Harare than Bulawayo. Do teacher, police, immigration officers etc choose where they want to be deployed? It appears you are purposely distorting information.

  • Indebele langempela

    Msunu wakho wena Thumisang. Ngoba uzekwa ngamashona ufuna abantwabethu bafundiswe isishona. Mdidi wakho. Sizowaquma amaswina othuvi ukuze libone ukuthi asiwafuni koMthwakazi. Lawe Jotham ogave uthuvi obukhotha ezibunu zamashona eZanu, mdidi wakho.

  • koka

    At last zanu has acknowledged that the grand plan is underway. the fact that these tshona teachers are to remain in Mat’land despite them acknowledging that this affects children’s perfomance is clear disregard for Ndebele people and provocation. Madoda ayihlome, akulamuntu ozasilwela. asilweni ngazozonke indlela.

  • Muza Sibanda

    The fact of the matter is that asilawo ama teacher thina lapha. Our kids go to South Africa before they complete O Level. This is the truth. Teachers’ colleges are not getting enough kids from eMandebeleni to train as teachers. Whom do we want to fool. Our kids are in South Africa. Our kids (the majority) are not qualified to train as teachers. This is the fact. I know you are going to throw brickbates to me but I am simply saying the truth. Our own teacher training colleges such as Hillside, Gwanda and UTC cannot be filled with Ndebele trainees because they are not there. As as result, the authorities at these colleges turn to Shonas to make the numbers. One other fact is that we want to be equal to Shonas in everything yet we are demographically challenged. Is it not the truth. The only possible way for us to better the situation is to beg those Shonas who can speak our language to teach our children. They are there, plenty of them. Jus saying

  • lee

    Muza I wonder which mandebele tribe you belong to! May you verify your facts before you post please. That will be a very smart thing to do muza.

  • rinovava

    thanks for this topic, fairly straight and to the point.. many of the affected folks on this fora are heaving with pain of noting that there is a very obvious shortage of teachers to TEACH OUR CHILDREN and hopefully for the children to get some head in life. i find it hush that those who feel are trampled upon use vitriol to reduce facts yet i wonder if they dont feel the harsh reality that the shortage is in the very foundation. many a contributor noted that hakhula, hapana, haziko, paribe, nada, nix non so called chosen tribal teachers they so yearn, in my last contribution i spoke of the needs for children not the needs of the toungueist, tribalist etc.. educators must be found far and wide and at this very moment they are plenty in the shona speaking area, most of the teachers are not to teach only ndebele because its taught at home just like a kid in masvingo, they attend school to learn other ideas and subjects from any teacher who is willing to do so in the dust under the trees, roofless buildings, no running water no chalk no flushing toilets far from the towns and cities…. there is a calibre of teachers that does go to these places..catching from the cold many caughed it is sad to understand that many would rather have no teachers in the schools than have shonas teaching their kids. pause for thought and answer a bit who wins the education war, who gains who will be better educated who will be better, whom will you blame if u get to know that in mashland there are not enough positions for teachers yet matland is suffering with one teacher to 4 grade levels? again ill say as for my kids they will be taught in matabeleland region ,schools by any teacher as long as they get educated period. deal with it until you have alternatives it is the goodness we have and we must be thankful that at least there are teachers who are sacrificing their ttime to impart knowledge to our kids.

  • maprie!

    Tiritose: probable you are one in hundred who is longing for diversity in our country. You have said your facts in a very civilised and humanity, however, the bitter response and the use vulgar language is a sign of discontent of people who had cried for years but ignored. If you will think of the Gukurawundi issue, it’s not only Ndebele’s who were affected but even those Shonas who were ZAPU supporters but the silence of our Shona brothers and sisters makes it look as if they condon the act. If people who were born and grew up in Bulawayo speaking Ndebele all of a sudden they can’t (speak)Ndebele. I have deliberately used can’t'SPEAK’ as compared to do not ‘UNDERSTAND’ . Doesn’t that show that there is a deep problem on our hands as a Zims? Judge it yourself sir!