CABINET has approved the country’s new education curriculum and schools are expected to immediately start implementing it, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora has said.
Speaking at the Matabeleland South provincial Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics exhibition held at Plumtree High School yesterday, Minister Dokora said starting in January next year only qualified teachers and those in training would be eligible to be in the classroom.
He said the thrust of the new curriculum was to emphasise the teaching of Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Technology, Heritage studies and Local languages as well as sporting and practical subjects.
“We expect the new curriculum to be implemented by qualified teachers and teachers-in-training. If you’re within the education system, and you’re neither of the two, then you should have made efforts to have undergone training by January next year,” said the Minister.
“As a ministry there’s a certain level of competence and skilfulness that teachers should have which are in line with the new curriculum.”
He said the ministry was working on ensuring that teachers acquire new skills required under the new curriculum, adding that strategies had been put in place to solve the shortage of Mathematics and Science teachers.
“It’s true that we’ve a shortage of science teachers. This is why the Ministry launched the Teacher Capacity Development Programme in 2014 to upgrade teachers in various areas so that they acquire skills to cope with the demands of the new curriculum.
“I’m confident that learners will benefit tremendously from this programme. We’ve 2500 teachers pursuing studies in Science, Technology, Mathematics, Heritage Studies, Languages, Art and Culture with various universities,” said Dokora.
He said teachers were expected to be trained to ensure that they remained relevant to the education system. The Minister said an effective supervision programme would be effected to ensure that teaching personnel complied with the new requirements.
“Supervision instruments for the heads of schools, teachers-in-charge, heads of departments and teachers have been reviewed to include the assessment of teacher professional standards. The new supervision instruments have been piloted and will be in use from January 2016.
“We’ll be monitoring the teachers to ensure that they upgrade themselves and become relevant to the kind of students that we want to groom today. We won’t tolerate teachers who only have their teaching certificate and several years of experience without any upgrading,” said Minister Dokora.
He said the government had introduced a teacher professional standards.
These establish the knowledge levels, skills and values expected from every teacher.
He said the teacher professional standards had been finalised.
“Furthermore, the new curriculum embraces new strategies for student assessment. There’ll be both continuous and summative assessment. What should emerge from these procedures are comprehensive learner profiles which should go a long way in helping the learner make informed career choices,” said Minister Dokora.
“The learners should be able to create employment. Gone are the days when learners were educated to enable them to get employment. It’s therefore imperative that we must enable the youth to advance scientifically.”
The Principal Director for Secondary and Non-Formal Education, Rodgers Sisimayi, told The Chronicle that the new focus being introduced through the new curriculum was for the system to churn out employment creators, not job seekers.
“The teaching method has shifted to ensure that what’s taught in the classroom is what happens in practice. The curriculum also prioritises strengthening of ECD learning in order to strengthen foundation of education.
“Another key area is learning of vocational technical subjects in order to produce learners with survival skills. Lifelong skills programme for those who would have completed their O’ Level a programme which exposes them to the world of work,” he said.
Speaking during the exhibition, Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director, Tumisang Thabela said the Stem programme continued to grow in schools within the province.
She said the exhibition was a strategy set to engage learners from ECD Level to High school level in research and invention.
Matobo District was named best exhibitor at the fair followed by Bulilima District in second place and Mangwe District in third place. chronicle