Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Government will spend $29 million equipping teachers and schools countrywide for the smooth implementation of the new curriculum, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavhima has said.
The funds are coming from two vehicles that are available to the Government and additional resources could be mobilised and channelled to the sector.
“For starters, we are going to roll out a programme to provide teaching and learning materials to a lot of our schools through a $9 million grant from the Education Development Fund (EDF), which is a fund put together by a number of development partners that we work with, but administered through a UN system under Unicef,” Prof Mavhima told The Herald in an interview this week.
“Additionally, the same EDF has committed to continue to support us as we go. There is what is called Global Partnership For Education, there are applications that we are doing there for upwards of $20 million so that we can continue to put money into various programmes that support the implementation of the new curriculum.
“I know for sure that the training of teachers is going to be the priority, the continued improvement of the infrastructure to bring it to levels that are conducive to quality education is also going to be a priority under the our new curriculum.
“Additionally, we are using innovative ways to raise resources, for example, for infrastructure we are going to go to joint venture partnerships and we are at an advanced stage in terms of laying the legislative framework that will allow us to work with our joint venture partnerships to fund, especially infrastructure.
“By infrastructure we mean not only the buildings, but we also mean ICT structures. It’s a big thing as far as this curriculum is concerned, it’s connectivity, it’s electricity — all those have to come under the venture of partnerships in order to avail them in our various schools throughout the country.”
In the 2018 National Budget statement presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education received the second highest vote of $905 million up from last year’s $800,3 million.
Prof Mavhima defended the contentious new curriculum, saying it was in keeping with modern education trends and made Zimbabwe’s system globally competitive.
“Think of it this way, a choice that we have to make is between a curriculum of the 20th Century and that of the 21st Century,” he said.
“It’s between a curriculum that emphasised on rote learning to a curriculum that emphasises problem solving, critical thinking and innovation. It’s really a difference between a curriculum that is status quo-oriented versus a curriculum that is futuristic in terms of its orientation.
“So, in terms of the overall orientation, we are not going to see a big change. What we are going to do is to refine, especially around the implementation of this new curriculum, we are going to review and be pragmatic in the implementation of this new curriculum.
“We have already started to see or to hear lots of complaints, especially around the specific syllabus regarding the scheduling and the availability of teaching and learning materials.
“All those issues have come to the attention of the ministry and, therefore, we are going to review the process and refine it so that there is smooth implementation of this new curriculum.
“But Zimbabweans should really bite the bullet and say, let’s embrace a curriculum of the 21st Century and leave the curriculum that we have had for almost 90 years with the same kind of orientation.”