President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwean education should teach history that is afro-centric and prioritise local languages as vehicles for the transmission of knowledge forms, cultural values, norms and beliefs.
President Mugabe said this while officially launching the capacity development programme for teachers in Harare on Thursday which was organised by five of the country’s universities.
“Languages are powerful vehicles for the transmission of insights, knowledge forms, cultural values, norms, and beliefs.
“As learners retell folktales, as they partake in drama, song and dance, they relive the values and beliefs that make us the quintessential Zimbabweans that we are,” said President Mugabe.
He said the programme gives an opportunity to refocus the teaching of history from infant to secondary education, giving the opportunity for students to celebrate their sense of national identity and pride through participation in activities that typify Zimbabwean culture.
He assured teachers that the programme will improve their skills to meet the demands of a modernising education system, broadening the curriculum to include ICT skills which will allow young people to lead in the emerging e-knowledge based economy.
“This teacher capacity programme will see Zimbabwe develop, not only a teacher who enjoys self-actualisation, but also one who is fit for the purpose, one ready to take learners to a higher level,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe said adoption of the e-learning will ensure that computers donated under the Presidential Computerisation Programme benefit young citizens and enable teachers to teach sciences, mathematics and use of ICT.
He thanked teachers and the country at large for working hard despite economic challenges being faced by the country.
The President also castigated parents who shun local languages like Shona and Ndebele preferring English saying this is a negative development which should be discouraged.
The programme is a brainchild of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and that of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
Universities are at the centre of the programme, each assigned an area that is in harmony with its mandate.
Underpinning this programme are teacher professional standards which were developed in consultation with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, universities, staff associations teacher organisations and development partners.
The programme has an initial US$3 million budget which will see teachers upgrade themselves to Masters level while a few will be assisted to advance to PhD level on research programmes identified by the two ministries.