Govt to train multilingual teachers to close language barrier

Teachers are mandated to learn at least three local languages other than their own, in an effort to address language barriers and improve the quality of education.

This was announced by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology, Prof Amon Murwira, in response to concerns raised by parliamentarians about the deployment of teachers to areas where they cannot speak the local language.

Prof Murwira said the policy aims to produce multilingual teachers who will not be limited by language to execute their duties.

“My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education regarding the state of affairs concerning teachers. We find that teachers who cannot communicate in local languages are deployed to teach in communities, particularly at elementary level Grade 1,” Gwanda South MP Dr Omphile Marupi Dr Marupi asked the minister.

In response, Prof Murwira said his ministry aimed to produce multilingual teachers who would not be limited by language to execute their duties.

“I wish to thank the Hon. Member for this very important question. You would know that since 2019, the policy for training teachers is now requiring all enrolled teachers at a Teachers’ College to learn three more languages other than their own,” Prof Murwira said.

“What this means is that a person or a teacher who graduates at the Teachers’ College is able to operate in areas where they are competent in terms of language, but what we are also doing is to increase the pool of Zimbabweans who are multilingual. It therefore means that this question, as we go into the future, will not become a question.”

Minister of Legal, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi also weighed in, noting that the policy was put in place to ensure that children are taught in their mother language at grassroot level and new languages get introduced as time progresses.

“Indeed, the Ministry now has a policy of ensuring that, that should not happen. You cannot send a teacher to teach Grade 1 or ECD classes when they do not understand the particular language,” he said.

“The thrust is now that even the learners in ECD must be taught in their mother language and as they progress, you introduce the other languages. If something like that is still happening, I think it needs to be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities for corrective action to be taken.”

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