Schools in new cur­ricu­lum dilemma

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Veron­ica Gwaze

SEV­ERAL schools coun­try­wide are yet to adopt the new ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum which was rolled out at spe­cific aca­demic lev­els at the be­gin­ning of the year due to un­skilled man­power and lack of the req­ui­site teach­ing ma­te­ri­als.

The Sun­day Mail un­der­stands that de­spite the in­tro­duc­tion of the new cur­ricu­lum at ECD A and B, Grade Three as well as Forms One, Three and Five; the ma­jor­ity of schools are still stuck with the old cur­ricu­lum.

The new ed­u­ca­tion syl­labus was adopted fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from a com­mis­sion es­tab­lished in 1999 to come up with mea­sures to meet lat­est trends.

Zim­babwe’s ed­u­ca­tion had been crit­i­cised for be­ing too the­o­ret­i­cal with prac­ti­cal sub­jects tak­ing a back seat.

In its find­ings, the com­mis­sion noted there was need to in­tro­duce vo­ca­tional train­ing skills dur­ing the early stages of ed­u­ca­tion.

The new cur­ricu­lum in­tro­duces mass dis­plays, phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, sep­a­ra­tion of con­tent and agri­cul­ture at pri­mary school level while sub­jects like Build­ing and Fash­ion and Fab­rics are now re­ferred to as Build­ing Tech­nol­ogy and De­sign and Tex­tile Tech­nol­ogy De­sign re­spec­tively.

But in­for­ma­tion gath­ered shows that most schools are in­ca­pac­i­tated to im­ple­ment the new cur­ricu­lum.

The new cur­ricu­lum has hit a snag in ru­ral schools where apart from high teacher to pupil ra­tios, the teach­ers do not have the req­ui­site skills to im­part knowl­edge on some of the sub­jects.

The rev­e­la­tions come as the first group of stu­dents taught un­der the new cur­ricu­lum in high schools are set to sit for Or­di­nary and Avanced Level ex­am­i­na­tions next year.

A school head in Mashona­land East prov­ince who is not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia by a Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy said: “There was need to in­tro­duce the new cur­ricu­lum from the lower lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion.

“If it had started with ECD A and B, these pupils were sup­posed to con­tinue with the new cur­ricu­lum un­til Form Six.

“The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where Form Three stu­dents are in­tro­duced to the new syl­labi and told to write fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tions next year is a chal­lenge.

“Be­sides, we do not have teach­ers with the skills re­quired in some of the sub­jects.

“There is also in­ad­e­quate learn­ing ma­te­rial and in­fra­struc­ture. Stu­dents are re­quired to ac­quire com­puter skills, yet some schools do not have elec­tric­ity.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Sec­re­tary for Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said her of­fice has been in­un­dated with a host of queries over the new cur­ricu­lum.

“We will re­spond to the is­sues col­lec­tively, but for now please talk to our pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer (Pa­trick Zumbu).”

Mr Zumbu said: “We are plan­ning to hold a press con­fer­ence dur­ing the course of the week. Our prin­ci­pals will clar­ify the is­sues there.”

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