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Mutoko teacher crafting Shona science textbook

Life & Style
Mutoko teacher Enock Mbabvu is writing a secondary school vernacular Shona science textbook

A MUTOKO teacher Enock Mbabvu is writing a secondary school vernacular Shona science textbook to ease the learning process of the subject in schools.

Mbabvu is a Teach for Zimbabwe (TFZ) fellow who teaches at Manhemba Primary School in Mutoko.

TFZ, also operating in Chiredzi and Binga, was established in Zimbabwe in 2019 by chief executive officer Miriam Siwa to groom teachers who make an impact in communities they teach.

Mbabvu told NewsDay Life & Style that he was moved to write the book whose title is Science Kuvana after noticing that most learners were struggling to master science in English.

NewsDay Life & Style met Mbabvu during a tour of Mutoko schools by co-founder of Teach For All Wendy Kopp and DHL Zimbabwe team.

“I usually consider myself the best science teacher, but one facilitator at a Teach for Zimbabwe workshop said something that touched me. He said: ‘I used to have a good science teacher and I cannot remember what he taught me.’ I then asked myself, what legacy am I going to leave after meeting these learners. So, I am writing a Shona science textbook,” he noted.

“I started writing the book last year in September. I thought it would be easy, but it is not a walk in the park. The difficulty is in choosing the right Shona words. Initially I thought of just translating a science textbook, but when I went to the printers they advised me to put in more flesh so that the book becomes mine.”

Mbabvu said the book is now at the editing stage.

“Without the TFZ opportunity I would not be able to do that and with this book I am no longer a mere teacher. I believe that if we learn in our own language the understanding will be much better than when we learn in English,” he said.

“So, I am going to advocate for learners to learn in their own language.”

The teacher said he wants to ensure that the book is adopted as learning material in Zimbabwean schools.

“I want to perfect the book first and when I feel it is perfect, I can rope in professionals. Sometimes we give our products to people and the products end up dying. I want to make sure that even if I fail to get support from the professionals this project becomes successful,” he said.

Another TFZ fellow and building teacher at Manhemba Secondary, Million Bvunzawabaya said instead of destroying structures after practical lessons, learners were now creating permanent structures through his mentorship.

Kopp said: “We have seen evidence of exactly what we are hoping for. It was so incredible to hear one of the fellows talking about developing a school’s curriculum in Shona. He has such potential to be a leader of curriculum development in Zimbabwe.”

Other schools visited during the tour were Katsukunya Primary School and the Johane Marange owned St Arnold Primary and Secondary School.

Meanwhile, in a related matter, Midlands State University (MSU) is set to translate primary science textbooks into Shona and Ndebele.

This was said by MSU National Language Institute executive director Wiseman Magwa during the launch of the national commemoration of the African Languages Week and the International Mothers Language Day in Gweru on Monday.

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