The Sunday Mail
Desire Ncube —
THE new education curriculum framework embraces diverse religious activities so as to expose students to various beliefs, a Government official has said.
Permanent Secretary in the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry, Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango, said Government is aware that students belong to various religions and the framework will cater for activities from Christianity, Islam and the traditional African religion.
Dr Utete-Masango told a gathering of Muslim believers at the official opening of New Hope Charity Trust — a Muslim research centre based in Harare — that her ministry has reflected on the curriculum because they are looking at ways of inculcating good values in young people.
“During the crafting of the new curriculum some of you were involved because we were trying to make sure that we leave no stone unturned. We consulted all stakeholders because when it comes to education, everyone is an expert.
“Everyone has interest in education. We then had to say our education system must be anchored with a philosophy and the philosophy that was shared by almost everyone was the philosophy of hunhu or ubuntu.
“To buttress that, apart from other principals, we have also looked at a family considering that it all starts from the family in terms of our belief systems. We had then to take it in terms of religion.
“We are looking at Christianity, Islam and the African traditional religion and all these have been taken on board to say we need to expose our learners to the various religions and we know that our learners belong to various religions,” she said.
The education framework was presented to Cabinet and approved on September 22 this year.
Dr Utete-Masango said the new curriculum framework will prepare graduates of the education system to have skills that include critical thinking, problem solving abilities, leadership, good communication, team building and technological skills.
She added, “We need to uphold that, it’s all in the new curriculum that we will be implementing as from January 2017.
“We are going to organise and come up with programs so that teachers are exposed to issues that include visual and performing arts. Our main thrust is to try and embrace other cultures so that our learners are exposed to various cultures,” said Dr Utete-Masango. Commenting on the resource center, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavhima said it will be one of the best places where people with the desire to understand Islam will be assisted.
“It is also going to be a resource that we in the Ministry of Education are going to use because we are teaching all religions at schools. It is our desire for learners to understand various religions,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, New Hope Charity Trust Instructor, Mr Asapha Chande said the Muslim research center was established to enrich people with better knowledge on the religion.
“It is not about accepting Islam but getting to the religion. Those who will be teaching here are competent, they have the right knowledge to deliver,” he said.
Mr Chande said some time back, Islam was a hidden religion that was kept as a preserve for young people from Malawi and India.
An Islam official, Mr Koliq Abdullar, said the centre was created to demystify myths and misconceptions surrounding Islam.
“Our religion is a religion of love, peace and unity. This institution has been created to suppress any other negative thoughts and to bring non-Muslims to this place so that they get to see, learn and understand Islam.
“We want to give the true picture of Islam to Zimbabweans and also to show that Islam is a religion of dialogue. A Mosque may intimidate some people, they may not feel welcome to come there and ask, but this one is open.
“We will be using an open door policy, if there are questions, we are ready to answer. Even if someone wants to conduct research, we have the resources. We will also be teaching people the Arabic language so that they may have a better understanding of Islam,” said Mr Abdullar.