THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has dropped investigations over the deployment of Shona-speaking and other non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Bulawayo and Matabeleland, saying it is not its mandate to do so.

Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavhima had previously told the media that he was going to lead a delegation to assess the increasing number of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in the region. However, he later suspended the investigations.

In a telephone interview from Harare, Prof Mavhima said the ministry decided to drop the investigations and let the responsible office do so.

"As the ministry we realised that the deployment of teachers is not our duty. By assessing the deployment of non-Ndebele teachers in Matabeleland we were basically going to interfere with the work of the Civil Service Commission. Therefore, we cannot go any further and do our assessment. If people have some problems they have to direct their concerns to them," he said.

The issue of non-Ndebele speaking teachers became topical in the region with parents, educationists and politicians attributing the development to the chain of poor results being recorded in Matabeleland schools, especially in rural areas.
This year's results sparked an outcry when 20 schools in Matabeleland South province recorded a zero percent pass rate in O- level examinations and Matabeleland North province dipped into the red when 15 schools recorded a zero percent pass rate.

Sunday News recently revealed that at least five primary schools in Matabeleland South have reportedly been forced to teach Shona as the indigenous language due to a shortage of Ndebele-speaking teachers as the issue of deployment of teachers continues to raise dust.

However, the view that the poor performance was a direct result of having non-Ndebele speaking teachers was rubbished by some people in the region who felt there were some languages that were not being regarded as important.

Some officials said the problem was beyond the issue of Ndebele and Shona but that most indigenous languages were being suppressed because of the unfair deployment of teachers.

They said languages such as Tonga, Kalanga and Venda were also suffering as teachers, who are not familiar with the languages, were deployed to teach pupils in areas where they are spoken.

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