The government says it will withdraw teachers who are not conversant with local community languages in a move meant to ensure that learners in early childhood development (ECD) are taught in their mother language.
This comes after some communities, mainly where minority languages are spoken, have raised concerns over the deployment of teachers who do not speak local languages, particularly in primary schools.
The country recognises 16 official languages, but most schools were mainly teaching Ndebele and Shona.
In an interview with State media on Thursday, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Tumisang Thabela said:
In terms of teachers who are deployed to areas where people are uncomfortable, there are two things that would have happened.
It would be a case of mistaken deployment because in the human resource database that we use to deploy, the Public Service Commission does the recruitment, and we ask the applicants to tell us the language that they are proficient in before we make a selection.
We are trying to phase out those issues, but once in a while when there has been such a mismatch we withdraw those teachers and correct the issue although it will take time to be fully addressed considering the shortages.
It is one of the mandates that the ministry has given us to develop indigenous languages.
That is why one of the key policies that we came up with as Government, through the ministry is to make sure that children who are at the infant level should be taught in their mother tongue or in the language which is common in their locality, especially in places like metropolitan cities where you have diverse cultures in one classroom.
Thabela said it will, however, take time to remove all teachers who do not speak languages spoken in that particular community due to a shortage of teachers trained in the indigenous languages.
She said the policy of teaching infants in their mother language was adopted faster than the teacher capacitation programmes.
Thabela said institutions of higher learning such as Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic, Seke Teachers’ College, Midlands State University, and Great Zimbabwe University are training teachers in the indigenous languages.| Chronicle