Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Nine year primary school education

Lazarus Dokora, minister of Primary and Secondary Education, has announced the introduction of four years of compulsory infant education, meaning nine years of primary education for schoolchildren.

Zimbabwe’s education system previously had seven years of primary school, although there has been a year of Early Childhood Development (ECD) class known as Grade Zero. With this announcement, Dokora said there would be four years of infant education including ECD ‘A’ and ‘B’ and grades one and two.

Dokora made the announcement at Johane Masowe Wechishanu Apostles national prize giving day held in Chitungwiza on Saturday, to recognise students from the church who excelled in their primary, secondary and tertiary education.

In a separate interview with the Daily News, Dokora confirmed the new move and said this was not a rushed decision. Dokora said ECD teachers were being trained together with para-professionals who graduate from non-teaching colleges to fill up the vacancies.

“According to recommendations from the Nziramasanga commission it was said that five-year-olds must enroll in the ECD module,” Dokora said.
Nine year primary school education
“In 2005, the second module was also to be part of the primary school curriculum derived from the Nziramasanga commission. Consequently, most parents ignored module A and only opted for Module B.”

The government set up the Nziramasanga Commission in 1999 to evaluate the educational requirements of the country. Dokora said in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe which demands quality education for all, the ministry’s structure will involve the infant school as soon as schools open.
Nine year primary school education
“All I have done is to say to the ministry, module A and B are not optional. They are part and parcel of the experience of the young learner,” Dokora said. This new structure is now in the education system of the ministry.”

He said the new system would equip infants with a basic education foundation that prepares them better for their later years in school. The infants would be assessed at Grade Two, said Dokora.
“The children would be tested at Grade Two to check certain abilities and they would be tested again in Grade Six and then the final Grade Seven test,” he said.

Primary schools in Zimbabwe have been facing problems of qualified ECD teachers and the latest move is set to put new pressure on the Education budget.

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