New education policy to increase pass rates

THE Zimbabwe Early Learning Policy (ZELP) which the government launched yesterday, is expected to help improve the country’s primary and Ordinary Level education’s pass rate, a senior government official has said.

Launching the policy on behalf of the Government in Kadoma yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister, Angeline Gata said the policy was the basis for Zimbabwe’s educational foundation which was a critical tool for strengthening the human foundation.

She was speaking to officials from her ministry drawn from the country, developmental partners, and private sector.

The policy is the first indicator of the country’s commitment to both the United Nations transforming education summit recommendations and the Tashkent Declaration on the provision of early education globally.

Said Deputy Minister Gata: “We want to have a strong foundation in our children, this will model and prepare them for the future. In this policy, we are not only focusing on reading and writing but inculcating our cultural ethos and values as people of Zimbabwe.

“The use of our local official languages is also being emphasised in the policy as this helps develop their understanding and grasping of knowledge.”

The proud Ndau-speaking Deputy Minister said the teaching of basic principles in the mother tongue was going to create a strong foundation for the entire learning process.

She bemoaned the erosion of traditional teaching mechanisms including the use of folk tales, games, and songs.

“There is going to be a reduction in the number of drop outs at school as the policy will give the foundational literacy and numeracy base for the learners hence the reason why President Mnangagwa saw it fit to approve its launch,” she added saying awareness campaigns were on cards to help promote the policy’s acceptance by the nation.

The ministry believed most learners who graduate from primary to secondary level lack adequate reading skills, the key to the comprehension of learning material.

Deputy Minister Gata rallied developmental partners to support the Government through the construction of more schools to reduce the distance walked by the learners and the dangers that they face on the road including hit-and-run, kidnapping, and sexual abuse.

The policy which seeks to ensure that every child in Zimbabwe accesses equitable, quality, inclusive, affordable, and relevant foundational learning, emphasises the reduction of distance that is walked by early learners to five kilometres.

Currently, the country has a deficit of at least 2000 schools for both primary and secondary levels.

Turning to children with disabilities, Deputy Minister Gata said the policy gives the authorities the time to identify the gaps and address them on time.

“Our President is very passionate on this side of people living with disabilities. This is groundwork and a strong foundation that we have set, we will build upon it as a nation.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, UNICEF education specialists, Ms Clara Mulamba who reaffirmed the developmental partner’s commitment to supporting the government in the construction of schools, lauded the policy saying it was promoting early learners’ development.

UNICEF, she said, had supported the Ministry in the formulation of the policy and was ready to support all the activities that are laid down in the policy.

Among some of the key successes of the policy that it seeks to achieve include the electrification of schools, availability of furniture and equipment, and strong parental and community involvement.

Herald

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