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.