Children have a right to freedom of religion: Dokora
Lovemore Meya Herald Correspondent
Every child has a right to belong to any religion and school authorities should adjust their timetables to ensure that pupils are not disadvantaged, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora said this on Saturday while addressing the Zimbabwe Religious Board in Chitungwiza where he reiterated that the new curriculum did not impose Islam on pupils.
“In 2013 came the new Constitution which we voted for and it stipulates the rights for education and religion. In the same Constitution there is nowhere, where it is written that the religion of this country is this, but there is a section where it states the freedom of conscience,” said Dr Dokora.
“It means everyone is free to worship any religion and there are those who believe in Islam, Apostolic sects (Masowe), Bahai, and Buddhism. In our Constitution there is nowhere, where it is written that we should kill anyone who believes in Buddhism, but everyone in Zimbabwe must have the freedom to stand for what he or she believes in,” he said.
Dr Dokora advised teachers to take note of their pupil’s different religions and observe them accordingly.
“What does this mean to my staff? In Chitungwiza there a lot of apostolic sects that attend church every Thursday evening together with their children and on Friday they go to school.
“It means children will attend school already tired because they never had rest the previous night.
“If it is those who go to church on Friday, some teachers celebrate because few pupils attend school.
“This is the day they decide to give others an exam and at the end of the term apostolic children are always at the bottom,” he said.
He said this leads to discriminating pupils according to their religion, urging church leaders to guide their children on what is good in their lives.
Dr Dokora said he would continue to engage different stakeholders in education matters.
“Education is a multi-stakeholder activity and consequently we cannot draw boundaries. We must be in perpetual dialogue with our stakeholders, be they churches, parents, accountants and whoever they are. As long as they have a stake in the education, we have an obligation to continue to interact with them.
“The churches themselves must also do introspection in what they do. Our message is, let us continue in a state of perpetual engagement and dialogue,” added Dr Dokora.