Dozens of teachers from rural districts in Mashonaland East Province who converged in Marondera on 10 June 2017 called on Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora, to immediately stop whatever he is smoking, sober up and stop implementation of his disastrous curriculum. The other option he has is to do the honorable thing, apologize to the people of Zimbabwe and donors, whose funds he has abused, and resign as minister.
This comes as teachers across rural schools have all but concluded that the curriculum is huge farce ad waste of resources which is burdening the learners, teachers and parents. Teachers in most schools noted that they are being forced to pretend to be implementing the new curriculum whenever the inspectors from the ministry visit schools.
The inspectors themselves do not have answers to the questions which teachers raise concerning the new curriculum. Fear and intimidation is being used to coerce teachers to pretend to be implementing Dokora’s curriculum. Dokora himself is at the fore of intimidating teachers whenever he visits districts and provinces, bullying teachers who dare ask basic questions like how possible is it to teach ICTs and computer studies when schools do not have even a single computer?
All in all, teachers complained that they are being reduced to ‘cheaters’ as they have to stage dramas when in reality nothing is happening on the ground. Teachers are worried that the sum total of the ongoing drama and pretense is that ordinary pupils will suffer as they are being denied the opportunity to learn.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has since the start of the year called on a rationality to be put ahead of excitement and reasoning ahead of political expedience. The implementation of the new curriculum must be stopped until proper consultations, budgets and infrastructure has been put in place as recommended by the Nziramasanga Commission.
The Marondera meeting was held as part of the ongoing Toda Kudyawo-Si’funa Ukudla Teachers Forums which are being rolled out by the union across all provinces as a way for the union to meet with its members and discuss its alternative policies which the union has put on the table namely the Education Equalization Fund and the 100% to salary rural attraction and retention allowance.
Teachers who attended the meeting also raised red flags on the rising cases of political victimizing targeting teachers especially those belonging to ARTUZ. The union will soon engage the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on the issue.