Following an outcry by parents, educationists, activists, and politicians over the deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland, the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavhima, told the state media Monday that he will lead a team to assess the situation on the ground, beginning with Matabeleland South this week.
The situation has been blamed for the low pass rate in the region. Most Zimbabweans say that recognition of all 16 languages in the country’s new constitution is the key to solving the problem.
Some schools in Matabeleland South are reportedly teaching the Shona language instead of Ndebele, as they have no single Ndebele speaking teacher who can teach the language.
The schools include Mthwakazi, Mpalawani, Gwamanyanga, Mpopoti, and Zhabazha primary schools.
Insiza North legislator Andrew Langa confirmed this development to the state media, but added that both Shona and Ndebele were taught in these schools, as they are near Mberengwa district, where Shona is widely spoken.
For perspective on this issue, reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga reached political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya, who says the issue is not limited to schools only, but most government offices, hospitals, and police force.
Ngwenya maintains that instead of building more colleges to train teachers, the government should use available resources to ensure student teachers learn more than one language before deployment.