by Tariro Daphne Senderayi
The Primary and Secondary Education Ministry embarked on implementing the various aspects of the new curriculum but it has been noticed that as was expected by critics there is no support in infrastructure and skilled personnel. When the review of the curriculum was flighted, concerned citizens pointed out that the broke government will face difficulties in implementation of the changes which would include lack of proper infrastructure and personnel.
The schools that are highly like to suffer the most from these obstacles are the rural schools. Yet the change of the curriculum is meant to benefit the rural children more. Teachers have pointed out that without the channelling of the required resources and a complete overhaul of the rural schools, it is unfortunate that the rural schools will only be able to implement only a fraction of the new curriculum.
With the introduction of the pro skills and STEM based curriculum, most of the schools in the rural areas do not have electricity, running water, laboratories and other facilities needed for some of the subjects. It will prove to be a mammoth’s task to implement all this in the rural schools. Despite lack of resources there is the problem of lack of human capital in the form of specialised teachers to teach the subjects like computer programming, the re packaged science subjects as well as the performing and visual arts.
This is not to negate the new curriculum which is indeed a good idea, but consideration needs to be put towards not rushing implementation which is marred by lack of new syllabi in the schools, no text books and teachers for the new subjects. This rush will bring only confusion to both the teacher and the learner as they do not understand what they have to do and how it is to be done.
There is fear that government is bringing in to many changes without adequate and proper consultation of the relevant stakeholders which will result in a learning environment that is riddled with confusion. There is also the aspect of introducing languages like French and Portuguese without the teachers to teach the subjects as it is a public secret that government stopped hiring teachers.
However, in the face of such hurdles, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister, Paul Mavima insists that they are working flat out to address the challenges. He went on to say they shall convene a conference with relevant stakeholders this year and discuss how best they can deal with the situation.
It would appear as though the problem is so much bigger than the lack of resources or human capital, but will include lack of innovation, negative attitudes by school heads and education inspectors. This is according to a study carried out by one Dr Wellington Samkange , a researcher of the University of Zimbabwe. In his assessment he recommends that there should be interventions that curriculum planners and implementers can utilise in order to create a conducive environment.