VILLAGERS in rural Matabeleland who reject non-Ndebele speaking teachers should be re-oriented, and encouraged to understand various cultures and languages, otherwise their respective schools will suffer, a government minister has said.
Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister, Paul Mavhima said government frowned upon communities that reject teachers on grounds of language, following the shunning of Shona-speaking teachers in Lupane, Matabeleland North province.
A meeting was held at Mlamuli Secondary School in Lupane a fortnight ago where the Education ministry officials reportedly tried to force the parents to accommodate a non-speaking Ndebele headmistress without success.
Instead, parents said all non-Ndebele speaking teachers should be kicked out of Punyuka, Jibajiba, Makhovula, Bhangale Malunku,Madojwa, Ndamuleni, Mkhombo, Matshakayile and Gadangula primary schools.
“It is an issue of unity that we have always emphasised. We are a united country, if anything people should be saying let’s try by all means for every Zimbabwean to be able to speak at least two or three indigenous languages. We have to reorient our thinking in so far as the situation is concerned,” Mavhima said in an interview on Wednesday.
“The overall thing is that we are a single nation, unified and we should be able to embrace our diversity and be able to work in different parts of the country.
“At a national level, we should encourage the understanding of various cultures and languages; that is what is important.”
Activists in Matabeleland such as Ibhetshu LikaZulu, Mthwakazi Joint Youth Resolution and others, however, accuse government of having a deliberate bias when it comes to teacher deployments in the region.
Mavhima said deployments were influenced by skills shortages, adding that Binga was now paying the price for rejecting non-Tonga speaking teachers.
“Understanding the other mother language does not mean that if you are in Binga for example, you have to be Tonga. It means you have to understand how to speak Tonga. Right now, we have a serious problem in Binga where people who do not come from that area are not allowed to teach there,” he said.