Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
THE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) will starting this August introduce a degree in Tonga as the institution of high learning moves to promote the 16 indigenous languages that are recognised in the Constitution.
Speaking at the Mkoba Teachers’ College graduation ceremony for Intake 14 in Gweru on Thursday, UZ Vice Chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura, said the Constitution recognised all indigenous languages equally.
He applauded the MTC choir for singing the country’s national anthem in Tonga saying, “Come August 2016 intake, we will be teaching a Tonga degree.”
Prof Nyagura said it was of utmost importance that Zimbabweans empower themselves in the use of local languages and local resources for the country to compete with the rest of the world.
The new Constitution recognises English, Ndebele, Shona, Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Khoi-san, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa as the country’s official languages.
The new Constitution repealed the Lancaster House constitution that used to recognise only English, Shona and Ndebele.
The move by the UZ is also expected to play a major role in the uplifting the education of the Tonga people since many graduates in that language are expected to assist the children in schools.
Meanwhile, Prof Nyagura said it was also the teacher’s responsibility to follow principles and guidelines from the government on the new teaching curriculum for the growth of the education sector.
He said science subjects should also be introduced at the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level right through the primary and secondary levels for the country to have a generation that can contribute in research and sciences for the benefit of the country.
“We want inventors, so the basic foundation of the science subjects should be at ECD. The primary school teacher is very important in this puzzle, in fact more important than the professors at universities since they hold an important role in moulding the child. Children should embrace STEM from an early age,” said Prof Nyagura.
College principal Florence Dube said 449 students had graduated with 119 assuming the role of ECD teachers.