Marvelous Moyo Gwanda Correspondent
COUNCILLORS in Gwanda District yesterday blamed recruitment of teachers who cannot speak local languages for the poor Grade Seven examination results recorded by most schools.
A heated debate over poor results ensued during the Gwanda Rural District full council meeting with councillors saying effective teaching required teachers to appreciate local languages first.
They said the six primary schools, which recorded zero percent passes in last year’s examinations were a cause for concern.
Ward Two councillor Bernard Jellot Sibanda sparked the debate: “We are not turning tribal, but we are talking about a primary school child being taught using a language that she or he cannot understand. How can our children pass under such circumstances? May the issue be attended to as a matter of urgency.”
Said another councillor from the floor: “Let’s not take this matter lightly because it impacts negatively on the future of our children. We need to deal with the problem collectively, as parents, School Development Committees (SDCs) and community leaders.
“We have never heard of a situation whereby all pupils fail. The issue of language is the main factor.” Ward Nine councillor Mozitha Moyo said parents should be allowed to reject teachers deployed to their areas who cannot speak their language.
He said: “It is pointless to have a teacher who cannot speak the local languages teaching our children. Our appeal is for government to see to it that teachers, who are deployed here, especially to primary schools, can communicate effectively in local languages.”
In his responding the Rural District Development Committee (RDDC) chairperson Job Ncube said he could not comment on the issue of language barrier.
Ncube, who was also representing the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, said his office did not have sufficient fuel to visit some schools especially those in remote areas. There was an uproar in Gwanda recently when it emerged that Glass Block 2, Gobadema, Matshetsheni, Ngoma, Tshongwe and Zelezele primary schools all recorded a zero percent pass rate in last year’s Grade seven examinations.
Datata, which was reported to have gone for about eight years recording zero percent, made some improvement last year.
Councillor Limukani Nyoni of Ward Three said there was no way Glass Block 2 could have posted good results because of shortage of staff.
“The school has gone for more than ten years without a substantive headmaster. That is also a problem,” he said.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Matabeleland South Cde Abedinico Ncube has also expressed concern over poor examination results in schools and called for an investigation to establish the root cause.