MATABELELAND NORTH provincial education director Boithatelo Mnguni yesterday dismissed as void the Binga Rural District Council’s resolution to ban the teaching of Ndebele at its schools.
Mguni told Southern Eye that only the Primary and Secondary Education ministry had the power to change the national curriculum.
The Binga council last Friday passed a resolution banning the teaching of Ndebele in all council schools in the district in a move it said was aimed at promoting the Tonga language and preserving traditional values.
Binga is predominantly inhabited by the Tonga people, but has a sizeable population of Ndebele and Shona-speaking people.
Mnguni said although no such directive changing the national curriculum existed, the resolution by the council was good as it pushed for the inclusion of minority languages in the curriculum.
She said the council was only advocating for teaching of the Tonga language, which could be included in the imminent curriculum review by the Primary and Secondary Education ministry.
“It’s not a ban, but a motion that Tonga should be included in the curriculum,” Mnguni said.
“We should understand that a curriculum is bigger than a district or province as it is national.
“What they did is right because they are pre-empting what will be done in a few weeks or months where we are going to have curriculum reviews and they want that to be captured.
“I respect the people of Binga as they are the pioneers in advocating for their language to be taught in schools.
“I am Sotho (and) I also want my language to be in the curriculum. This can only happen when we conduct the curriculum reviews soon.”
A full council meeting called for a total ban on the teaching of Ndebele in Binga primary schools as a way of resuscitating the Tonga language, values and culture.
In 2011, a major milestone was achieved when Tonga was officially tested in the Grade 7 exams for the very first time.