From George Maponga in Masvingo
At least 170 primary and secondary school teachers enrolled at different local universities under the recently introduced teacher capacity building programme have dropped out after finding the going tough in their different programmes.The teachers were part of the first batch of 2 500 enrolled at local universities to pursue both diploma and degree studies in languages, early childhood development, science, information, communication and technology (ICT) and vocational and technical training (VTC).
This was after President Mugabe in 2014, gave the nod for the implementation of a new curriculum which required teachers to upgrade their skills in-order for them to teach effectively.
Speaking on the sidelines of a curriculum review provincial workshop in Masvingo yesterday, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango expressed concern at the rate at which teachers enrolled under the capacity building programme were dropping out of their studies.
She said that Government was responsible for paying tuition fees for these teachers who would abandon studies midway.
“We enrolled 2 500 teachers at five different local universities to undergo training in areas of need that include languages, sciences, early childhood development, technical and vocational skills,’’ said Dr Utete-Masango.
‘’This was after President Mugabe supported the introduction of a new curriculum but we are worried that 170 teachers have already dropped out after finding the going tough,’’ she added.
Under the capacity building programme the teachers were enrolled at five local universities after the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the tertiary institutions.
The five universities are Great Zimbabwe University (Languages), Midlands State University (ICT), Bindura University for Science Education (Sciences), University of Zimbabwe (Vocational and Technical Skills) and Zimbabwe Open University (ECD).
Dr Utete-Masango said Government would devise ways of recovering its tuition fees from the teachers who dropped out without completing their studies.
“We have names of those who dropped from their studies and definitely something will be done. Those who dropped should repay our money because we want people who are serious,’’ she said.
She said it was incumbent for a teacher working in Binga to be conversant with the local language in that area for them to impart knowledge effectively.
Government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has adopted a new curriculum in the country’s education system that among other things, pushes for students to be taught in all the 16 officially recognised languages including indigenous ones in the country.
Before that, students throughout the country were taught English and the only recognised vernacular languages of Shona and Ndebele but the situation changed after the country adopted a new constitution about four years ago.