Beaven Tapureta : Own Correspondent
Education authorities involved in pirating books at schools will be thoroughly disciplined since their actions are tantamount to abuse of public funds, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora has said.Speaking at the official opening of the ongoing Zimbabwe International Book Fair on Wednesday at the Harare Gardens, Dr Dokora said he was disappointed that schools are the main consumers of pirated books.
“The ministry does not tolerate book piracy and this is an offence according to the new code.
“Book piracy in schools is equal to abuse of public funds and school authorities will be charged and disciplined accordingly within the ministry if found pirating books,” said the Minister.
He said a circular from the Permanent Secretary will be sent to all schools reminding them of the risks of book piracy and urged partner organisations in the book industry to define book piracy in terms which ordinary people understand.
“The untoward thing about piracy is that it has become second nature in the education system. We must define it in terms that ordinary people understand. It is actually theft.”
Dr Dokora officially opened ZIBF after a tour of the book exhibition stands and also gave an update on the progress of the new curriculum dispensation.
He said the new curriculum, which the ministry introduced last year and is still in its first phase, is focused on skills development and the cultivation of a committed cadreship which is cautious of its responsibility to family, to community and to the socio-economic transformation of our nation.
However, he said there are challenges associated with some learning areas in the new curriculum.
For instance, areas such as e-learning demand a comprehensive plan before implementation if the issue of connectivity is to be resolved.
The Minister had some good news for the writing industry when he said he still looks forward to the revival of the Literature Bureau which will bring about job creation.
“I still look forward to the resuscitation of the Literature Bureau or its equivalence.
“The potential for job creation through a vibrant book industry deserves special focus,” he said.
The ZIBF is running under the theme ‘Igniting Interest in Reading for Sustainable Development’ and will end tomorrow.
The official opening was spiced with energetic performances by poet Albert Nyathi and traditional dance group from Seke Teachers College. Nyathi did a piece from the latest book “My Son” he co-authored with Ignitius Mabasa.
The opening was also graced by the former education minister Dr Aeneas Chigwedere, writers, publishers, and representatives of rights organisations from Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa.