A STUDY by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter found that the Education ministry and the Civil Service Commission were the most secretive government institutions, as they were not forthcoming with information on their operations.
Openness and transparency go to the very heart of democracy, as they foster accountability from public officials.
It is quite strange that in this information age, a ministry like the Education one is the opaquest, yet it is supposed to lead the way in transparency.
The Education ministry has the double demand of being open, as it recently launched a new curriculum, meaning they should be transparent, as there is need to spread information as widely as possible.
There have been questions about the new curriculum and scepticism in the manner the government rolled it out and the onus is on the Education ministry to ensure that all questions are answered fully and this demands openness.
Hiding public information or failure to provide it when asked for is an archaic way of thinking, where there is a mistaken belief that being too transparent opens one to attack.
Instead it brings in constructive criticism, which the ministry can learn from and use that knowledge in future when new policies are introduced.
The Education ministry must thrive to be open, as criticism will only help them become better, instead of the current situation where they are adjudged to be the most secretive.
Education minister Lazarus Dokora should be seen to be engaging Zimbabweans, both online and offline, as this is the only way he can become a better minister.
For some people, their only access to the ministry is through the website and this means that the authorities also ought to update their online properties more regularly and be willing to interface with anyone who logs on.
As alluded to above, we live in an information age, where a lot of information is now available online and the best way for the government to reach out to many people is through the internet and social media.
The anachronistic idea that the internet and social media are being used against the government and have to be avoided at all costs is the thinking of yesterday’s people, who should not be anywhere near public office.
Social media and the internet are here to stay and Dokora and his ministry need to jump on board as soon as possible and provide information that parents and stakeholders need timeously.
There is absolutely no need for the Education ministry to be secretive, they deal with the public probably more than most ministries, meaning they should be approachable and provide the widest range of information as possible.