A tour by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education at schools in Masvingo revealed that teachers feel the implementation of the new curriculum was hurriedly done without ensuring the necessary logistics are in place.
Implementation of a new curriculum should be preceded by training of the teachers and resources should also be availed as failure to do so compromises the education system.
These are some of the sentiments that came up during consultations on the new curriculum at Ndarama High School by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.
The school’s Headmistress Mrs Shirley Makausi told the committee that the general feeling among teachers is that the implementation of the new curriculum was hurriedly done highlighting that there are too many loopholes which have seen both students and teachers struggling to cope.
Some of the teachers candidly pointed out that implementing the new curriculum without the necessary resources is tantamount to experimenting on the students with most expressing pessimism saying they are simply adhering to the requirements because they fear losing their jobs.
Most parents have also expressed concern in the past that the new curriculum is taxing on them due to many requirements that need money.
In Hwange, inadequate resources was sighted as the biggest challenge which government needs to deal in the implementation of the new curriculum at both primary and secondary level.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education Cde Kenneth Musanhi said the next task of the government is to mobilise resources to facilitate a smooth implementation of the new curriculum.
“We are going out to source funding so that we can actually have what we call an education fund. If we don`t get education fund on this issue, I think our new curriculum will be nothing to talk about,” he said.
The visit by the committee was aimed at enhancing their appreciation of the challenges in the education sector in general as well as the hurdles that are specific to the implementation of the new curriculum.
Human and material resource constraints have been identified as some of the biggest threats to the effective implementation of the new curriculum.
School heads who graced the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education’s outreach programme at Chinotimba Primary School in Victoria Falls said there’s need for increased investment in teacher training for the new subjects required.
While appreciating the fact that the new curriculum is central in the development of critical thinking, the participants said the workload on the part of both the teacher and the student is unbearable.
Calls were also made for the education sector to prioritise quality of materials and textbooks with one publisher criticised for gross misrepresentations and for failing to do proper research.
Mashonaland West legislator Concillia Chinanzvavana thanked the participants for the contributions which she said will go a long way in ensuring effective implementation of the new curriculum.
As part of recommendations, the schools called for a phased approach in the implementation of the new curriculum and review of remuneration for the teachers.