Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora on Friday exonerated himself from blame over the thorny issue of teachers in Matabeleland who cannot speak Ndebele or other local languages in the areas they work in.
Dokora also castigated journalists for focusing on “finding faults” instead of helping in the development of the country.
He was responding to questions from journalists after his tour of John Landa Nkomo Secondary School in Tsholotsho whose construction was spearheaded by the late national hero, Vice-President John Landa Nkomo.
“Teachers are trained by the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,” he said in response to a question on teachers in Matabeleland who cannot speak Ndebele.
“That is the one which can talk about the training of teachers. Their recruitment and deployment is done by the ministry of Public Service and my job is to supervise the delivery of primary and secondary education.”
The issue of teachers in Matabeleland who cannot speak the local languages was raised at the recent Matabeleland regional development indaba convened by senior minister in the President’s Office Simon Khaya Moyo at Elengani Training Centre in Bulawayo where he pledged to get to the bottom of the matter.
Since then it has hogged the limelight in the media with politicians and other stakeholders from the region speaking out against the practice which they blamed for the low Ordinary and Advanced Levels pass rates in the region.
Dokora also maintained his stance that parents should not be asked to pay teachers incentives.
“You see the school (Butabubili Primary School in the San community of Tsholotsho)we have been to,” he said in response to a question from journalists.
“Where do you think parents of those children will get the money to pay incentives?”
During his tour at John Landa Nkomo Secondary School, Dokora was informed of the need to build boarding facilities to cater for children from the San community.
The San are generally known as hunter gatherers and are beginning to integrate with the rest of the society.
Dokora said it was important for every community to have access to education, adding government wanted to upgrade schools in rural areas to match standards of those in towns and cities.
Earlier, the minister launched a supplementary feeding scheme at Butabubili Primary School, about 65 km from Tsholotsho Business Centre, where the Dairy Industry Trust donated 5 000 litres of milk.
Dairy companies represented during the donation included Alpha and Omega Dairy run by the first family.