PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora yesterday refuted allegations that the updated curriculum was distorting learning process, saying it is going to open up opportunities for Zimbabweans to be skilful and not just be mere academics.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Dokora said although it was good for people to be academic, skills and other dimensions fulfilled in the updated curriculum would also make learning easy for pupils.
The minister has been under fire from different stakeholders saying the updated curriculum will damage the education sector.
“We have just opened up the space for the kids’ potentials. Every kid’s dream really should be carefully worked into a study plan,” Dokora said.
“When, like the MPs were telling me that there is 0% pass rate (in some constituencies), it is painful for me because I can see why they are asking, but I can see why they cannot understand my response.
“All they want is that these kids must pass, but you are forcing everybody into a narrow grouping of academic works. Not everybody is academic and even those that we push into academics and have 17 As, I have asked the question: What can you do (in terms of skill)?
“In short, we have educated this kid to be frustrated. They are out in the streets selling airtime because they cannot do anything. They are educated to be employed.”
He said Zimbabweans were spending too much time learning non-important things like general knowledge of “longest river in Africa, the tallest mountain in Africa, the most popular city in Africa” that did not contribute much to life skills.
In other countries, skilful youths had managed to set up successful companies that were employing huge numbers.
In Zimbabwe, Dokora said talent must be nurtured from infant school, where young pupils learn basic skills as prescribed in the curriculum.
He said the curriculum was a product of the Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry, which made many recommendations that were, however, not implemented.
The minister said the updated curriculum makes learning pleasurable, adding those who were not well informed about the curriculum had been making a lot of unfounded allegations on what pupils and teachers are supposed to do.
Dokora said it was necessary to put policy first before other required needs in terms of manpower and facilities.
A full interview with minister Dokora will be published on Sunday in The Standard.