Why Zimbabwe does not have enough qualified Ndebele primary school teachers


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Zimbabwe is currently facing a shortage of Ndebele teachers especially for ECD level up to Grade 3 because people from the Ndebele speaking regions do not want to become teachers, Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu told the Senate yesterday.

She was responding to a question from Senator Bekithemba Mpofu on what the government policy was of teachers teaching languages like Ndebele with limited knowledge of the language.

“The policy is that when a child is still young at ECD level up to grade 3, the child must be taught in his/her mother tongue but we have a challenge of teachers from that region. We have been advocating for more teachers to be trained from that particular region without success,” the minister said. 

“Most of the children in that region opt for other qualifications. The majority of them do not finish school. They leave for South Africa or Botswana and they do not finish their primary and secondary education. That is the biggest challenge that we have. 

“We have been in touch with the training colleges to investigate the shortage that is there and I am very disappointed that we have failed to get children into those colleges. I am very disappointed. We have failed to get volunteers even in my own constituency which is Bulilima.”

Q & A:

HON. B. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to ask the question. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  My question is on policy; what is Government policy on teachers teaching primary school children without the knowledge of their language.  An example is a teacher teaching with limited knowledge of Ndebele teaching primary school children in a school that is predominantly of Ndebele community.  What is Government doing about that especially on primary schools?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. NDLOVU):  I would like to thank the Hon. Member of the Senate for the pertinent question because it is prevalent throughout the region in Matabeleland where quite a number of teachers are deployed there without the requisite Ndebele language knowledge.  The policy is that when a child is still young at ECD level up to grade 3, the child must be taught in his/her mother tongue but we have a challenge of teachers from that region. We have been advocating for more teachers to be trained from that particular region without success. Most of the children in that region opt for other qualifications. The majority of them do not finish school. They leave for South Africa or Botswana and they do not finish their primary and secondary education. That is the biggest challenge that we have. We have been in touch with the training colleges to investigate the shortage that is there and I am very disappointed that we have failed to get children into those colleges. I am very disappointed. We have failed to get volunteers even in my own constituency which is Bulilima.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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