Participants at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare say lack of material in local languages and inadequate access to books are hampering learning processes in schools.
In an interview at the Book Fair, renowned playwright Stephen Chifunyise said the absence of all local languages in schools resulted in people underestimating the value of indigenous languages.
Chifunyise said all the 16 official languages in the new constitution should be reflected in the school curriculum, a move that could lead to the availing of many books in various languages.
Chifunyise, also an art guru, said government should find a way of ensuring that children have access to books written in local languages at a very tender age.
Poet Albert Nyathi echoed the same sentiments, noting that people should not confine local languages to Shona and Ndebele only but also to minority languages that are now recognized in the country’s constitution.
Seke Teachers College lecturer, Lazarus Mhodzi, said although there are adequate textbooks in some schools, there is need for additional books but parents are failing to buy them due to the current harsh economic environment in the country.
Former teacher, Colette Mutangadura, added that it is unfortunate that people in Zimbabwe are shifting away from their culture and language resulting in them losing their identity in the process.
This year Book Fair, running under the under the theme: “Igniting Interest in Reading for Sustainable Development” opened yesterday and ends on Saturday.