President Tsvangirai wades into Mashonaland East

President Tsvangirai wades into Mashonaland East

President Tsvangirai today kicked off the last leg of his listening tour in Wedza in Mashonaland East where opinion leaders spoke about the endemic fear planted by Zanu PF in their communities.

Traditional leaders, particularly chiefs and headmen, said Zanu PF killed and orchestrated violence against the people in 2008 and was invoking that period to instill fear and intimidate villagers and local communities.

The opinion leaders expressed their lack of trust and faith in the BVR process, saying Zanu PF would use the fingerprints issue to intimidate villagers to say the party would use the fingerprints to see where they had put their vote.

Just as in other provinces, the traditional leaders bemoaned their paltry allowances which were seven months in arrears. They said Zanu PF claimed the allowances were party money when in fact these allowances were State money funded by the taxpayers. “It is not Zanu PF money, and Zanu PF should not misrepresent itself as the State.” President Tsvangirai told the traditional leaders.

The people's President assured the community leaders that the people's vote was a secret and it was a lie by Zanu PF that they would be able, through the BVR process, to see where the people had placed their vote.

Fear and intimidation are emerging to be the key issues in Mashonaland East. The community leaders cited names and incidents to explain how fear, coercion and intimidation were the major instruments used by Zanu PF to cow villagers and keep rural communities at ransom.

On alliances, the community leaders said it was important to harness all energies to ensure that Zanu PF is pastured out in 2018.

President Tsvangirai will this afternoon hold a similar meeting with community leaders in Marondera. Tomorrow, he will be in Mutoko and Murehwa, engaging ordinary people on the crisis in the country, the new governance culture post-2018 as well as strategies to ensure that the people's will is protected.

Luke Tamborenyoka
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications

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Statement on Zimbabwe's new school curriculum

Statement on Zimbabwe's new school curriculum

There has been a wide range of comments, mostly concerns, about the New School Curriculum that is being introduced in Zimbabwe. It is not clear what the way forward will be, but the responsible Ministry seems to be arguing for proceeding with implementation. Below I highlight some of the developments that the public may need to note and hopefully this may assist on agreement on the way forward.

There is world-wide interest to review curricula, possibly even more regularly than Zimbabwe has done so far. In recent years, many countries have done so due to the following influences:

  • Advances in Science and Technology have generated a large stock of new results available to accelerate innovations particularly those that can lead to productive activities and hence accelerate creation of new employment. This has led to the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), as areas that need greater emphasis in study to prepare pupils to learn and exploit such results. The preferred approach in studying the subjects tends to be investigative to allow pupils to develop independent abilities to learn more even without the teacher and, more so, on completion of formal study. With mounting pressure to generate more employment for the youth, this is a positive initiative by the education sector.

  • Second is the advancement specifically in IT, which has generated several new ways of acquiring information by the pupil, often independent of the teacher. Indeed some hard-working pupils may very well get to read and understand some issues beyond the teacher. This calls for a new relationship between the pupil and the teacher. To keep this under control many see the pupil partnering with the parent in that interaction with the teacher. No one is certain of the overall impact that IT advancement will have on this relationship. However, what is certain is that new IT ideas will continue to come and through consultation, the nature of the teacher-pupil-parent collaboration will have to evolve.

  • In responding to these influences, the success of Zimbabwe's new curricula will need to uphold the following:

  • All pupils should have access to IT facilities, books and related items and be in a position to use them under competent guidance from the teacher. At the core of concerns so far expressed, all these are reported to be either unavailable or inadequate. It is a call on the responsible Ministry to respond positively and address the shortcomings.

  • In moving from one curriculum to another, the management of transition should maintain or improve standards. In Zimbabwe what tended to define the standard achieved at each level of study at school was revealed by the subject content, examination paper and grade scored. The introduction of continuous assessment with a teaching community not seeming to understand what they are doing will make the grades ultimately scored questionable. The Ministry has the obligation to ensure that the examination and grading process is credible enough to be recognised elsewhere. Without that the students' qualifications will stand the risk of not being accepted in several institutions of higher learning internationally.

  • Teachers are one of the most critical components of a well-functioning educational system. Obtaining their buy-in on new curriculum development and equipping them with the necessary tools and skills to enable successful implementation should be at the fore.

In conclusion, it is clear that the way ahead is rooted in intensive stakeholder consultation, common understanding and agreement between pupils, as represented by their parents, teachers through their schools and unions, and the Ministry. Such a consultative process should be there to stay as new developments will continue to arise and call on need to revamp the curricula from time to time.

Heneri Dzinotyiwei
Secretary for Education
Movement For Democratic Change

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