The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) is saddened and stunned by the stance taken by Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora of calling for the reprimanding of the poor parents who fail to raise tuition fees for their children as was reported in the media.
It is disgusting that Dokora unashamedly continues, to call for legal action against poverty-stricken parents yet it is the duty and responsibility of the government to fund education.
Article 27 of the Zimbabwe constitution clearly states that the government should fund basic education, hence calling for the arrest of “defaulting parents” is unconstitutional.
The RTUZ urges the minister to reconsider and withdraw his uninformed and capitalistic stance of lobbying for the privatisation of education.
RTUZ wishes to advise the minister to stop being a stumbling block but instead be a building block that encourages the government to exercise its duty of funding education instead of threatening the poor parents.
RTUZ would also want to urge the government to prioritise the education sector if the empowerment mantra is supposed to be a reality because education is the pragmatic empowerment tool that can capacitate citizens.
That the government only contributed a paltry US$600 000 as compared to Unicef’s US$2,4million towards the Capacity Development Programme, clearly shows that the government is reluctant to contribute towards education yet millions are channeled to the army and police as if we are a country at war.
While the Capacity Development Programme is a good initiative by Unicef (and not by government as reported in the media), RTUZ urges those responsible for the implementation of the programme to ensure that the programme is lopsided in favour of rural teachers. This will lure qualified personnel to teach in rural areas, which in return will boost pass rates.
RTUZ would also like to make it clear that it supports government on the idea of curriculum review. However, the association urges government to engage all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of this long overdue curriculum review initiative.
It is also our hope that the curriculum review will not be politicised, but instead, the new curriculum should be beneficial to the learners in preparing them for life after school. In other words, the curriculum should not be tailor made to suit hegemonic agendas of certain individuals or political parties as has been the case before.
Lastly, RTUZ hopes that the curriculum review will be a panacea for fashioning and producing learners that will be effective in community building as far as development is concerned.
Therefore, it is important that whoever will implement the programme be non-partisan and well-informed; otherwise the curriculum review will end up being an ideological tool of some egocentric and parochial individuals for hammering their propaganda into the heads of our children.