Obert Chifamba Manicaland Bureau
A teaching professions council is on the cards to professionalise the education sector, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora has said.
He said this was in response to recommendations made by President Mugabe when he opened the school heads conference in August this year. Speaking at Mutare Book Fair where he was guest of honour last Friday, Minister Dokora said the council would help make teachers relevant, recognised and appreciated in the general discharge of their duties.
“We should have a national all school heads conference once every two years followed by provincial ones in which school heads can exchange ideas and interact with other professionals, which will help boost their knowledge as well as demonstrate that teaching is a special career that is key to the development of the country,” Dr Dokora said.
He advised all school heads to join associations — either for primary school heads or for secondary schools so that they can assist each other to develop professionally and be able to discharge their duties as required by the new curriculum that was designed to produce students that should be job creators and not employees.
“Don’t teach the kids just to pass examinations but equip them with skills that make them self reliant and relevant in propping the country’s economic development programmes such as Zim-Asset. There is no space for people that are not qualified to be educators in my ministry. The work we do is special and should be professionalised for the benefit of students,” he added.
As he sought to align his address with the theme of the book fair — ‘Making the Book Pay’ — Minister Dokora said as students studied books, they became the books themselves because they would be shaping their skills in different professional aspects, inculcating values they get from the book into their systems so the end product, that is, what the student eventually becomes is the reward that would have come from the books.
“If it was possible, at the end of ‘O’-Level or ‘A’-Level or even tertiary education, we would all say the most interesting book is the one that had an ending we already knew, because as we embark of the journey of getting an education, we have a target that we want to achieve. Once we achieve that target, the book has paid us and we are professionals in various fields,” further explained Minister Dokora.
He also took the opportunity to advise publishing houses to work closely and draw inspiration from the new curriculum to publish books that had the capacity to create employers of the future and not employees.
“Publishers must be innovative and produce books cheaply so that they are easily accessed by all people. We need to make the book pay by creating responsible citizens with a culture of responsibility in line with the Africa Union Agenda of an educated and literate content by 2063 as well as the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that include transforming the world for the better through productive skills, the right attitudes, honesty, integrity and hard work,” Dr Dokora advised.
Publishing houses, teachers, Ministry of Education officials, school children and members of the public attended the two-day event that ran from Friday to Saturday in the eastern border town of Mutare.