Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora has announced the introduction of a trial agricultural examination for Grade Seven pupils beginning this year.
BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU)’s Young Farmers Club Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Project Phase 2 launch in Mazowe on Thursday, Dokora said the government would begin examining Grade Seven pupils in the practical subject which will now be taught from as early as Grade 3 in all primary schools.
“My ministry has arranged to have a trial Grade Seven examination in agriculture this year. This is meant to make both teachers and learners to take agriculture seriously,” he said.
Dokora said the need to introduce agriculture as a subject at primary school was motivated by the realisation that it was a key economic driver and, therefore, everyone should have a basic knowledge of it.
“Agriculture is the key economic driver and the biggest employer in Zimbabwe, hence, there is need to take it seriously not as something that should be done by those who have failed to make it in life,” he said.
“Agriculture studies begin in Grade 3 and it is at the centre of this new curriculum. This was not an accident, but a deliberate strategy to support the land reform programme in the country. Today Zimbabweans have the land, but not necessarily the skills to work on the land.”
The Young Farmers’ Club Empowerment and Entrepreneurship project is a ZFU programme aimed at improving the livelihoods of young unemployed youths by providing agricultural-based technical education and skills.
Sponsored by Barclays Bank to the tune of $206 145, the programme was targeted at nearly 31 000 youths in rural areas.
Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha said the ZFU programme had come at a time it was most needed. “This programme comes at an opportune time when there is dire need to support youths in agriculture, at a time the country is experiencing one of the worst drought in several years,” he said.