The Sunday Mail
Government has secured US$10 million to implement the new education curriculum, with portions of the schooling framework likely to be adjusted.
Global Partnership for Education, a non-governmental organisation that supports basic education in developing nations, will release US$7 million in early 2018, with the remainder coming progressively.
This funding is under the ambit of GPE and Zimbabwe’s long-standing co-operation and could prioritise teacher training and textbook purchases, among other areas.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima told The Sunday Mail: “We have received US$10 million from our long-time friends, Global Partnership for Education. US$7 million will be available early next year while the remaining US$3 million will be made available later in 2018.
“In addition, we are expecting US$8,5 million towards resourcing implementation of the new curriculum. The ministry is going to decide the areas where the funds will be used, areas such as teacher training and acquiring textbooks.”
Prof Mavima indicated that an on-going review of the new education curriculum’s implementation could lead to further adjustments. “Government is reviewing the implementation to see how the year has gone by. We will implement the required changes. However, there is no turning back on the new curriculum.
“Yes, adjustments will be made, but there is no going back to the old curriculum. In the 2018 National Budget, Government tendered US$18 million towards resourcing the new curriculum. So, we will next year construct 156 schools across provinces based on need.
“Mashonaland West is the neediest because of land reforms, but all 60 rural districts each need at least one school. We have engaged the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry on construction of science hubs in rural districts to equalise opportunities.” From 1990, Zimbabwe has been refining education quality following its massive school expansion programme in the first decade of Independence under the Education For All policy.
The “quality reforms” also focused on curriculum relevance.
In 2014-15, Government primed the primary and secondary school curricula for needs-driven education to prepare learners for life and work.
The approach emphasises Mathematics, Science and Technology, Vocational Training, Humanities and Heritage studies — all compulsory throughout. This framework is based on the 1999 Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training’s Report, which recommended leveraging economic and industrial development through practical subjects.
Part of the report reads, “The Commission believes that every child has a right to this basic education. In the Commission’s view, that nine years of basic education will equip children with literacy, numeracy and practical skills.
‘‘Earliest experiences of learning have immeasurable effects on an individual’s future. If the foundation has deficiencies, it will be difficult to remedy the situation.
“. . . The Commission agrees with the arguments advanced by parents and teachers that vocational subjects be re-introduced at the basic education level. Children should spend more time outside the classroom than inside it. That is to say, in addition to literacy and numeracy, there is also need to pay attention to operacy or the skill of doing things.”
Countries like China have similar models prioritising Mathematics, Pure Science, Technology and Gymnastics at primary school level.
Mauritius has a nine-year cycle of compulsory basic education to “empower children for life in the 21st Century”, exposing them to “competencies for life in the new global village where there are people of different cultures and backgrounds”.
Agenda 2063 — the African Union’s guiding strategy from 2013-2063 — advocates science, technology, research and innovation.
It also aims to strengthen technical and vocational education and training to build knowledge, human resources, capabilities and skills across Africa.