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Education as an empowerment tool …let us avail it to all our children indiscriminately

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WE, in the village, value education so much that we make it a point that every child in the community goes to school, without fail.

Since the country’s attainment of independence in 1980, significant efforts have been made to ensure every community has a school.

The results are out and there are mixed feelings. 

But without doubt, the transformation of the education sector and the economic reforms we are experiencing in the Second Republic have seen our children largely doing well. 

It must never be forgotten that the education system inherited by Zimbabwe from the colonial powers was designed for a few and not the overall development of the indigenes.

But that has since been drastically changed; gone is the colonial education system which was too literary and classical to be truly useful in the transformation of the indigene.

As we continue to revamp our education sector, making it better and appropriate to the needs of the 21st Century, the essence of black education is to ensure that we compete anywhere in the world —as indeed we are doing.

It must never be forgotten that the colonial regime established a structure of discrimination against blacks in the education sector to deliberately keep them in bondage.

Are you aware that the colonial policy sidelined the black majority with only 12 percent of the 100 000 blacks who completed seven years of primary education proceeding to secondary education every year. Education was bottle-necked to serve the colonial adminstration.

Did you know the colonial regime came up with a restrictive law, the Native Education Department and the Education Act of 1979 designed to ensure that blacks received inferior education in the form of a watered-down curriculum.

The colonial education regulatory frameworks and statutory provisions created glaring inequalities which affected black students’ advancement opportunities and development.

The abolishment of the pre-independence education system brought an inclusive education and an academic system which set five ‘O’-Levels as the benchmark for entry into tertiary institutions and the job market.

We experienced incredible strides in education through school expansion, teacher training and resource improvement.

‘Growth with equity’ was the core driving principle adopted by the Zimbabwean Government to enable the Government to redress the inherited inequities and imbalances in access to basic needs such as education.

Primary schooling was made tuition-free and resulted in gross admission rates that exceeded 100 percent.

By the end of the first decade of independence, Zimbabwe had achieved universal primary education.

Student enrolment ballooned in both primary and secondary schools following the opening of schools that had been closed due to the war, especially in rural areas. 

To date, there are thousands of primary and secondary schools built after independence.

Without doubt, the country’s educator has made great strides in terms of access and school completion rate among children.

In 2006, Government introduced the Early Childhood Development Programme in primary schools as a response to the 1998 Nziramasanga Commission recommendations on education and training.

The Zimbabwe Integrated Teacher Education Course (ZINTEC), put in place in response to qualified teacher shortages soon after independence has been lauded as one of the historic education reforms aimed at coping with the ever expanding education demands and the need for qualified teachers in the country.

Significant strides have been made in the capitalisation of both the supervision and the examination of education despite constraints induced by the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the UK, the US and their allies.

Calls to transform the structure and curriculum of the country’s education system in order to adequately meet the evolving development aspirations, with greater focus placed on the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including entrepreneurship, have been heeded.

Zimbabwe’s heritage, history, national ideals and aspirations have been encompassed in the new curriculum.

As a landlocked country, with good agricultural soils and climate, agriculture studies at Grade Seven level have been made compulsory.

Learning areas in the infant level school (Early Childhood Learning to Grade Two) are the visual and performing arts, physical education, mass displays, indigenous languages, mathematics and science, family and heritage studies as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The crosscutting themes include gender, children’s rights, disaster risk management, financial literacy, sexuality, HIV and AIDS, child protection, heritage studies, human rights, collaboration and environmental issues.

The junior level curriculum includes languages, mathematics, heritage and life skills orientation programme (LOP), social studies, science and technology, agriculture, visual and performing arts, family, religion and moral education, physical education, sport and mass displays as well as ICT.

Emphasis at junior level is on the development of STEM disciplines and practical learning areas such as design and technology, ICT, while art and theatre arts are also included, further broadening the educational base at primary level so that learners will be able to identify the areas they would want to pursue at a higher level starting at Form Three up to Form Six.

This is all good.

And so I ask our teachers to be responsible professionals.

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