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Govt acts on Ndebele teachers


THE GOVERNMENT is reviewing the way teachers are deployed by provincial education officials to ensure that students are taught by educators that speak and understand the local language.


Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavhima said the review was a deliberate necessity following outcries over the deployment of teachers, especially in Matabeleland, who do not speak or understand local languages.

Mavhima indicated that this was necessary to enable learners to better understand subjects they were being taught to boost the pass rate.

Parents and educationists in Matabeleland have long blamed the low pass-rate in the region on the deployment of non-Ndebele-speaking teachers in both primary and secondary schools.

Pressure groups such as the Mthwakazi Youth Joint Leaders’ Resolution have even protested the “unfair” deployments.

The pressure group demonstrated at Makuzeze Primary School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, demanding the transfer of the head from Mashonaland after the institution only recorded a single pass in the 2012 Grade 7 examinations.

Education officials and academics in Bulawayo last week blasted the Civil Service Commission for deploying non-Ndebele speakers to schools in the region and said this contributed to the low pass rate.

Parents late last year said the skewed deployments were to blame for the bad language in the Ndebele Grade 7 exam.

There was uproar in the southern region of the country following revelations that the Grade 7 Ndebele Paper 1 examination contained slang and other vulgar words, among other vocabulary, not commonly used in everyday conversations.

Mavhima told Southern Eye that this could only be avoided through a deliberate policy dictating that teachers be deployed to areas where they can speak and understand the local language.

“We are saying that firstly, our Constitution obligates us to teach all the languages that have been recognised and we need teachers to do just that. Secondly, as a matter of practical expedience we are teaching students at Early Childhood Development level and Grade 1 who for the first time are being taught English and it will be better if they are taught English by someone who understands their mother tongue so that the transition is easier,” Mavhima said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the official opening ceremony of Molo Primary School in Mateteni village, Bubi, Matabeleland North.

Mavhima was the guest of honour at the ceremony attended by Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Yoshinobu Hiraishi. The Japanese embassy poured $112 039 towards the construction of the school through World Vision. Before the Japanese embassy intervened, pupils were being taught in mud and thatched huts built by their parents in 2006. Before that the nearest school was 20km away.

“We also have a severe shortage of teachers. We need to train so that we have appropriate teachers deployed appropriately in those areas,” Mavhima said.

“It’s less really a matter of being regionalist, but it’s a matter of informative experience that we have teachers that can teach those local languages competently so that students can understand and also transition from their mother tongue to the language of instruction — English.

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