New curriculum to cater for the disabled
Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has set up a new department to spearhead implementation of the new curriculum for learners living with disabilities.
This will entail the ministry purchasing special learning material to capacitate schools to incorporate children living with disabilities into the mainstream education system.
There have been growing concerns by people living with disabilities that there are no comprehensive learning materials, particularly for students with hearing and speech impairment.
Sign language was also exclusive to select learning institutions, which made it difficult for people living with disabilities to have universal symbols.
In an interview, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said Government was working to ensure people living with disabilities are not left behind in education.
Dr Utete-Masango said the ministry was in the process of getting learning materials for children living with disabilities to ensure they are incorporated into the mainstream education system.
She said some learning institutions had been capacitated with information communication technology (ICT) learning equipment.
“As a ministry, we have set up a new department that will facilitate a wider inclusion of children living with disabilities as part of the implementation of the new curriculum. This department has also procured teaching and learning materials for children with different disabilities that also include Braille and sign language. We are making a lot of effort to ensure that people living with disabilities are not left behind,” said Dr Utete-Masango.
“If you go to institutions like King George VI in Bulawayo we have capacitated them with computers,” she said.
In response to claims that the learning curriculum for people living with disabilities did not include science subjects, Dr Utete-Masango said the ministry had rectified the situation and included mathematics and science subjects in the prescribed learning materials.
Dr Utete-Masango said Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo had been tasked to capacitate primary and secondary school teachers with teaching skills for children living with disabilities under the teachers capacity development programme.
“Since we started implementing our new curriculum. We have witnessed an increase in the number of people living with disabilities sitting for Ordinary Level examinations. We are expecting the number to increase, although I do not have the figures in terms of the number of children living with disabilities, who sat for the November examinations last year,” said Dr Utete-Masango.
“We are including science and mathematics subjects learning materials for people living with disabilities. Great Zimbabwe University is also capacitating teachers with the teaching skills for people living with disabilities under the teachers capacity development programme,” she said.