The Sunday News
By Lulu Brenda Harris
29 September 2012
THE Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture has begun reviewing the education curriculum following revelations that the current curriculum is responsible for the overall decline in the quality of education as O-level examination results have been consistently poor for the past 10 years.
According to a survey conducted by the ministry, grade seven pupils performances have also shown a significant drop from pass rates of over 70 percent in 2007 to less than 40 percent in 2009.
The education ministry is conducting the curriculum review exercise in a bid to provide upgraded learning content with a focus on relevant cultural contexts.
Education minister, Senator David Coltart, said the ministry had to provide a solution that would work practically rather than continuing with an overly academic outdated set, which contributed less to skills.
Sen Coltart said a detailed plan for the curriculum was already under way and the initial plan was to hold a workshop in early December for all stakeholders.
He said the ministry was involved in extensive open consultation with a broad rage of education and community stakeholders to take on the review process.
“We cannot hold this curriculum review exercise in isolation. We have to include a variety of stakeholders because the curriculum review is for every school level from the Early Childhood Development (ECD), primary up to secondary school level. This will focus on targeted subject specific technical assistance from the development of syllabi, targeted training of the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) personnel and a phase approach to material development and field testing and review,” he said.
The minister said the ministry would seek technical assistance to help the ministry in developing a competency based curriculum framework to use as a basis of ongoing public consultation.
“We are talking about including practical subjects like agriculture, industry, commerce, tourism, football and so on. At the ongoing football indaba, we also mentioned that we have to nurture talent at an early age. That is why we have to recruit subject specific curriculum specialists to assist in creating a set of syllabi for each grade and school level,” he said.
Sen Coltart said partners were coming in to provide the funding.
“The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa has contributed $3 million dollars while the Government will provide for the CDU personnel,” he said.
In 1999, President Mugabe’s Commission of Inquiry report into Education and Training known as the Nziramasanga Report identified Zimbabwe’s curriculum as needing a major review.
For example, it cited how in the current curriculum, primary schooling is highly congested with 13 independent subjects and provided limited options for alternative learning streams.
The Presidential Commission recommended the introduction of a more competency based learning approach, which is linked to industrial needs.
While this report was made over 19 years ago, the implementation of many of its recommendations was impossible given the economic constraints that Zimbabwe faced during that time.
However, the education ministry still considers the report to be important and relevant even for the present time.