Some private colleges in Harare are lagging behind in implementing the new curriculum that was adopted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education at the beginning of this year.
The new curriculum is aimed at reshaping the education system. All learners in primary and secondary schools are supposed to be taught following course outlines of the new syllabus.
Public schools and other well-established private schools have already started implementing the new curriculum amid complaints by teachers over its rushed implementation despite lack of resources to implement the new system.
Some of the new subjects introduced at primary level include Mass Displays, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, as well as Heritage Studies. Compulsory subjects at Ordinary Level have also been enlarged to include Agriculture, Physical Education, Sport and Mass Displays, General Science, Indigenous Languages, English Language, Mathematics and Heritage Studies.
However, it is disturbing to note that some private schools are yet to start implementing the new curriculum, a situation likely to affect thousands of students, since they will write public examinations based on the new curriculum.
Martin Mapfumo, a teacher at a private college in town, said most private institutions were lagging behind in implementing the new syllabus due to lack of trained teachers in most privately-run schools.
“Most private colleges are employing cheaper unqualified teachers. Forcing an unqualified teacher to adopt a new teaching system will be a recipe for disaster. The Ministry of Education should put in place monitoring mechanisms to regulate operations of private schools, so that they comply with the country’s education policy,” said Mapfumo.
Another teacher, who confessed to teaching at an unregistered private college in Sunningdale, concurred with Mapfumo saying monitoring the implementation of the new curriculum in private schools that have mushroomed around the City is difficult as many are not registered.
“Most of the backyard private colleges are not registered and cannot invest in resources required by the new education system. Most emphasis is being given to public schools, forgetting there are also thousands of students in private schools, who should also be learning the new curriculum,” said the teacher.
One principal at another private college in Glen View, who spoke on condition of anonymity for professional reasons, said he had instructed his teachers to use the new syllabus, but noted that his school lacked adequate resources for a proper rollout.
“We are trying to teach the new syllabi, but our biggest challenge is that we do not have some of the things, such as computers and sporting facilities required by the new curriculum. I cannot source help from the Ministry of Education because my registration papers are not in order and my staff is underqualified,” said the principal.
Efforts to get a comment from the education department on how they were monitoring the implementation of the new system in private schools were fruitless.
Nonetheless, a senior Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education official was quoted last month by the media saying the ministry only monitored activities of private schools that are registered.