The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) says it does not respect and support the learners’ national pledge, saying it is unconstitutional and infringes the rights of children’s different religious opinions.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The issue has already stirred outrage and criticism from some churches, human rights, activists and parents who have taken the matter to the Constitutional Court, saying the pledge should have been subjected to public consultation before being “forced” onto learners for adoption.
Speaking at a news conference at the ongoing 35th Zimta conference in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Zimta president Richard Gundane said while it was not a bad idea for children to understand their history and culture, government was indoctrinating teachers to prescribe the method to the schoolchildren, hence depriving them of their professional independence.
“We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. We commit to honesty and the dignity of hard work,” he said.
“We are currently in serious debate over the issue and the question is: Is it a product of consultation or somebody just sat and came up with the pledge?”
Gundane added: “We are in a predicament and dilemma because of this pledge which begins as a prayer and Christians have seriously condemned that. There is a huge reaction from the Christian and non-Christian world and constitutionality. One asks: Should schools force pupils to pray? Plus we have so many religions in the country like Islam and those who are into African religion and where is their place in such a pledge?”
Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said there was a gap between the expectations of government and society especially on the issue of consultations, thus leading to lack of respect for human rights.