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Reverse appointment of non-IsiNdebele speaking teachers: Activists

A Social movement group, 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement (MRM), has waded into the ongoing debate on the of non-IsiNdebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland urging government to reverse the appointments.

1893 MRM argued it was common knowledge that infants had to be introduced to early learning using their mother language and that could not be achieved if government appointed primary school teachers who cannot speak local languages.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education recruited about 1 300 teachers last week where the majority of them were deployed to Matabeleland North.

In an interview with CITE, Chief Administrator of 1893 MRM, Bernard Magugu said it was shocking to see that the list comprised mostly of Shona teachers.

“The argument is these teachers are supposed to handle infants and teach them in their local languages so they understand concepts but the list of people appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to take up teaching posts in different schools around Zimbabwe had almost 70 percent of teachers appointed for infants in Matabeleland being Shona speakers,” he said.

Magugu emphasised that the government should reverse these appointments as they were contributing to a disservice while previous pass rates indicated as much.

“The 2018 Grade Seven results for 29 schools had a zero pass rate for Matabeleland North and this was tied to language barriers between teachers and learners. This is one of the issues which is strongly affecting this region’s pass rate,” he said.

The social movement claimed that it carried out its own investigations and discovered that these teachers were appointed in Harare while the local PSC office in Bulawayo had not dealt with the appointments.

“They were in turn shocked on seeing that list but claimed their hands are tied. 1893 MRM have then noted that the issue of centralisation is strongly affecting other regions as PSC employees who are responsible for appointments at Head Office level second their relatives for these posts not considering the effect of such actions to the respective regions and that is a recipe of Mthwakazi resistance, which might end up provoking catastrophic actions by the affected regions,” Magugu alleged.

The Government has spoken about devolution but is unwilling to implement it by taking ‘crucial’ steps such as deploying able teachers in respective regions, he added.

“What government is doing is not even devolution but quasi-devolution and it is the reason why as 1893MRM we are advocating for full devolution of power and the one we want should bestow power to the provinces. Besides that, deploying non-speaking teachers is a recipe for disaster, especially if you want genocide violate people’s rights!

“As 1893 MRM we simple need a fair and just system for Matabeleland and Midlands region. We hope the concerned stakeholders will address what people here in Matabeleland have raised regarding education since it is a matter of urgency,” said the chief administrator.

Another political commentator Nicholas Ngqabutho Mabhena said the deployment of teachers from other regions should not pose a problem as long as they can teach isiNdebele to the learners.

“One Kudzvuramoto Tatenda was named as a new teacher at Mbizingwe Primary School. I took it upon myself to check with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Harare if he speaks and can teach IsiNdebele. The response l received is he indicated in his CV that he passed IsiNdebele hence his deployment to my village school which is 100 percent Ndebele speaking. If he is fluent in IsiNdebele l have no problem with his deployment and we welcome him in our beautiful village,” he said.

But the militant Mthwakazi Republic Party had insisted that jobs, even teaching, in Matabeleland should be reserved for qualified locals.

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