Dokora speaks on Chinese, Swahili

Kuwadzana Primary school teacher Rosemary Chakanyuka conducting a lesson as pupils sit on concrete slubs with the moveable desks.

PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora told Parliament yesterday that the teaching of foreign languages under the proposed draft curriculum review would be optional.


In a ministerial statement addressed to both Houses of Parliament, Dokora said the government was still committed to introducing more local languages into the education system with 250 teachers already being trained at Great Zimbabwe University to teach Tonga, Nambya, Shangani and Venda.

His statement came after MPs grilled him over the decision to introduce foreign languages such as Swahili, French, Portuguese and Chinese in the school curriculum at a time most local languages were not being taught in schools.

“The draft framework for primary and secondary schools will guide learning and teaching during the next seven years and it will include expression to national efforts as reflected in ZimAsset, the Constitution, regional and international treaties to which the country is signatory, and generate views and suggestions collected during the nationwide consultations,” Dokora said.

“A total of 961 000 submissions by different sections of the population were collected at different districts, where stakeholders said Maths, Science, technical and vocational training, heritage studies and humanities, ICT (information and communications technology) and life skills must form part of the curriculum,” he said.

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami asked Dokora to explain how industrial attachment for secondary school students was going to be undertaken given that a high number of university students were failing to secure places for internship.

“The term ‘industrial attachment’ is not correct because the right term to use is life skills orientation,” he said.

“These are programmes that will ensure students acquire skills for work or that will prepare them for ‘A’ Levels.”

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT chaired by Nelson Chamisa recommended the reduction of voice call tariffs as they were currently the most expensive in Africa.

The committee proposed crafting of laws such as the Cyber Security Bill, Electronic Transactions Bill and Data Protection Bill to manage mobile payment systems.


  1. Esh..this Dokora thing is another thing…everything that he proposes does not make sense. One wonders what he is smoking again

  2. Why Dokora chose Chinese and Swahili languages is a mystery. Chinese is mainly spoken in China while Swahili is spoken in East Africa. How many Zimbabweans interact with the Chinese or Swahili speakers who have no understanding of the English language? Answer: Very few!!! So it’s not necessary to expose the whole country to such strange languages.

    • Its funny how we are even pondering introducing Chinese or Swahili into the curriculum when a lot of Shonas do not understand and speak Ndebele and a lot of Ndebeles do not understand and speak Shona. Let us focus on making English, Shona and Ndebele available and compulsory for every primary school student so that we have a generation of people who grow up able to easily interact across the tribal divide. Language is the greatest way of unifying people. English, Shona and Ndebele are definitely the main languages in Zimbabwe so let us focus on making sure that every kid grows up knowing how to fluently converse in the three.

    • I am equally baffled Pollard. In Zim there is a always tendency to ignore the basics. Why not place emphasis on English, Shona and Ndebele? Given the great tribal divide, I would see it more reasonable making the three languages compulsory at primary school level so that we have a generation of people who can fluently converse in these three national languages and have an understanding and appreciation of the respective cultures. One of the greatest factors that foster unity, intergration and coexistence is language. Its been 35 years since independence and yet Shonas still don’t understand Ndebele, and Ndebeles still dont understand Shona. We have quite a significant percentage of people who cannot understand and converse in English, a trully international language and tool. Let the emphasis be on English, Shona and Ndebele. How can you seriously be considering Chinese, French and Swahili when back home Mashonaland people feel uncomfortable in Matebeleland and Matebeleland people feel uncomfortable in Mashonaland and some people cannot converse in an international language of business that is, English???

  3. @pollard- l don’t think so, even the highest grade of marijuana doesn’t produce such wild ideas

  4. The following 3 languages must be compulsory for all students at primary school level: English, Shona and Ndebele. Let us focuss on the basics. Really, why start pondering about chinese, French and Swahili when a very big percentage of Shonas cannot understand and speak Ndebele and a big percentage of Ndebeles cannot understand and speak Shona. Language is one of the best tools for unification and intergration and it is quite clear that in Zimbabwe the three main languages are English, Shona and Ndebele. Wherever you go, be it to the Batonga areas, the Changani areas, you will find that in addition to the local language, they can speak atleast one of the 3.

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