Schools defy ministry’s directive on language policy

Dan Moyo

Dan Moyo

Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
SCHOOLS are allegedly defying the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s language policy which stipulates that infants should be taught in their mother tongue at Early Childhood Development level.

Great Zimbabwe University senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Francis Dakwa, said his recent research discovered that ECD centres were not following the government’s regulations as far as language is concerned.

He said parents are also contributing to the problem because of the desire to have children who are fluent in English.

“ECD is about learning concepts but our ECD centres aren’t teaching in local languages. So they can’t grasp concepts.

‘‘The kids are taught using foreign books which they can’t relate to yet Dakwa has written books. Why not use books written by local authors. The kids are taught jargon and parents should understand that it’s not a simple language question,” he said.

The academic said the government should put in place a strict monitoring system for ECD schools as some of them are operating illegally.

Matabeleland North provincial education director Boitatelo Mnguni said it was critical for institutions to adhere to laid down education procedures.

“Teachers are forced to use the child’s mother language or they’ll lose the child. At infant level it’s important to talk to the children in their mother languages. Mother tongue doesn’t mean indigenous language, it can be English as long as it’ll be the children’s mother tongue,” said Mnguni.

Bulawayo provincial education director Dan Moyo could not comment as he was in a meeting in Harare.

Addressing Bulawayo school heads recently, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora, emphasised the need to teach infants in indigenous languages.

“The first one is saying let’s use indigenous languages as a medium of instruction. Those who use English as their native language let’s use English; those whose indigenous language is ChiTonga, let’s use ChiTonga, the same applies to Nambya. This is provided for in the constitution,” he said.

Pin It
  • musa

    you will have to decolonise the mind first.

    • Top S’gelekeqe

      My friend, our biggest colonialists in this day and age is the Shona-obsessed present day leadership, which has no respect for the cultural and language rights of fellow Africans. Forget about our previous colonialists!!

  • koka

    so then why is zanu deploying non-Ndebele speaking teachers to primary schools in Mat’land? this is a contradiction or is it a smoke screen to start campaigning for the votes? zanumustfall

    • Top S’gelekeqe

      Their policies are always selective. They are tribalists and racists to the core – you should know that by now. On paper, they will tell you we are all equal; anyone can settle anywhere in the country; anyone should get land anywhere in Zimbabwe; anyone should get jobs anywhere in Zimbabwe, as long as they are qualified. But 90% of the time you find that all these policies are only favouring one tribe – the Shona!
      For instance – in theory; all our languages are equal isn’t it? Any Zimbabwean is free to speak their languages in any party of the country. But what is happening in practice? A Ndebele MP stands up to speak in siNdebele like all other Shona MPs do in their Shona; but the Ndebele speaking MP is immediately stopped in his tracks and told to either speak in Shona or English. The Shona go everywhere in Zimbabwe speaking their Shona – you try speaking Ndebele in Mashonaland – you are immediately told Andinzwi – speak Shona or English.
      Check the noise over VP Mphoko addressing Shona people in Ndebele in Mashonaland; yet there is never the same noise when Mugabe or Tswangirayi addresses crowds in Shona in Mthwakazi provinces.
      Food for thought. Zimbabwe is a shiiit place – if you ask me. And they expect patriotism from us in Matebeleland and the citing of the so-called National Pledge?
      I say Go tell it to the mountains!!!!!!

  • The optimist

    Parliamentary sessions are held in English not so? And why condemn your child to be the experiment to see if it will work to say as Zimbabwe we speak our own language and if you cannot then don’t come here? We are not the Chinese so let us not be copycats. We do not even have a national language. So how does it make sense to not try to get our kids to learn the language of business at an early stage? Even this paper is written in English. Lifuna ukubisela abantwana bethu emuva. We will teach them our own languages at home but honestly how does one teach Math in Shona or Tonga?

    • benjamin

      Problem with Zimbabwe is that policy formulation and implementation in almost all sectors is always hurried and/or fast tracked without giving sufficient time for brainstorming by relevant experts and policy makers (For reasons I still don’t know). It’s a disease in Zimbabwe that always leads to policies that are clearly nonsensical and/or unreasonable. Soon they will be backtracking on the policy.

      • Top S’gelekeqe

        Its because the leadership is not democratic; hence the only way they can avoid democratic requirements is to fast track things all the time.

        Democracy by its very nature is time consuming and requires patience on the part of everyone, because of natural differences of opinions between human beings. Consensus is the ultimate outcome in a democratic process, but ZANU PF is not used to this.
        They believe in impositions because they still see themselves as a liberation movement; not as a normal political party. In liberation movements, like in any military set up – everything is top down. Its all about toeing the line. That is why most of their positions or decisions are never sustainable in the long run.

        As you can see; most of what they have been doing in the last 36 years is almost certainly to be reversed in years to come – the next 15 to 20 years from now; because it was never by national consensus. Nothing lasts for ever – the should have learnt lessons from Ian Smith’s “…not in my life time….” statement.
        But well; that is to be expected of thick headed street thugs of course!!

        • benjamin

          That surely sheds quite some light…

  • Sibayaka Mudenda

    So why deploying teachers who doesn’t speak or understand Tonga to teach ECD in Binga? NXAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    • BringBackOurFlag

      so you want your children to be taught in Tonga by who when statistic show that there are far less trained Tonga speaking teachers in Zimb,be realistic,it doesnt mean the recruitment of unqualified tonga speaking people

  • Top Sigelekeqe

    Its called Zimbabwe’s version of apartheid. Indeed institutionalised Shona tribalism like there was institutionalised racism in South Africa.

    Afrikaans was once the language of the oppressor, hence the 1976 riots in the South West Townships (SOWETO). Likewise in Zimbabwe, the Shona language has equally become the language of the oppressor, that we are all now forced by stealth to learn.

    All they have to do is to impose a Shona official in a position of authority in Matebeleland (who claims cannot speak Ndebele, but insists on speaking Shona instead of English to all and sundry).

    This leaves the local Mthwakazi people with no choice but to converse with him in broken Shona in order to access State services through his office otherwise they are done for!!

  • jahman

    employ people who can speak local languages! You will meet a Shona speaker who cannot speak isiNdebele teaching at primary level deep in the rural areas, then you wonder whats going on in those education offices. How are our children meant to learn our language and culture properly? Apartheid Shona style