Culture, values, norms key in shaping country’s identity

12 Sep, 2021 - 00:09 0 Views
Culture, values, norms key in shaping country’s identity

The Sunday Mail

Book Review
Edmore Zvinonzwa

LOCAL publishing house, Palm Publications, has released a new heritage studies book titled “Aspects of Heritage Studies”.

The book is expected to respond to the requirements of the new curriculum and has been approved for use by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

“Aspects of Heritage Studies” — Book 5 — (Learning Essentials) was penned by educationist Haurovi Erikana and touches on various heritage aspects like culture, norms and values, among other things that help shape a country’s unique identity.

Palm Publications spokesperson Alistine Chirume said the book, which covers the Lower Sixth form level, was developed in response to the national need for learning materials in heritage studies.

“The book is unique in that it is a true reflection of our diverse culture in Zimbabwe. It also enlightens the youth on the importance of our culture since it sets out to correct certain aspects of our culture that are often misunderstood so that they accept and treasure Zimbabwe’s own culture and practices,” he said.

An understanding of our heritage remains the bedrock on which the foundation of national development is built. Currently, people tend to admire and extol Western values and norms ahead of their own.

Chirume further added that Africans have their own way of doing things, which essentially enable them to proffer solutions for their different challenges in their own way.

“I would want to urge authorities to support local initiatives like this book, which was developed by our own people — who have a deep understanding of how we do things — for our people,” he said.

The spokesperson also decried the rampant literature piracy in the country.

“On piracy, educationists, especially the teachers, are shooting themselves in the foot when they share soft copies of books. Authors stop writing once they discover that people are sharing soft copies of their books and when that happens, teachers will not get teaching materials.

“What makes matters worse is that it is teachers who write these books and at times it is them who share the soft copies. After authoring, they will get nothing as a result of piracy. We are now working with new authors because the seasoned ones have stopped, complaining that they are not getting anything from their work as a result of piracy,” argues Chirume.

The writer, Haurovi Erikana, who is a teacher and is also critical about piracy, said “Aspects of Heritage Studies” (Form 5) responds to the updated curriculum as contained in the Curriculum Framework for Primary and Secondary Education.

“One of the major aims of the new curriculum which is, ‘Motivating learners to cherish their Zimbabwean identity and value their heritage, history and cultural traditions and preparing them for participatory citizenship’. Also, the curriculum highlights the importance of the principle of Ubuntu/vumunhu) which is emphasised throughout the book,” said Erikana.

According to Erikana, the book promotes creativity through learner-centred activities, something that is expected of all who pass through the new curriculum while fieldwork activities offer them research skills.

Palm Publications marketing director Tawanda Ndhlela weighed in saying they had also developed indigenous language.

“We now have a full Venda series and already have part of the Shangani language series. The country’s Constitution, which was approved by the people in 2013, recognises all the 16 languages in Zimbabwe and that is what we are trying to respond to. Every indigenous language must have adequate learning material, including textbooks,” Ndhlela said.

The Mbuya Nehanda statue on the cover gives the book currency and immediacy and resonates well with the Government’s position on reasserting the country’s unique history. Mbuya Nehanda remains a key historical figure in Zimbabwe. When the country adopted competency-based education and training (Cbet) some years back, it was meant to focus on developing learners’ skills, which is why today we talk about the new curriculum in the education sector.

Hitherto, the system that learners went through essentially trained them to look for jobs after completing their studies but Government has been working on changing this.

The new curriculum brought with it the need for appropriate learning materials that would respond to specific needs in the various study disciplines right from Early Child Development (ECD), primary, secondary up to tertiary level.

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