ZANU PF has moved to address the emotive issue of deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers to Bulawayo and other Matabeleland areas to teach primary school pupils, the party's national secretary for education Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said yesterday.
Ndlovu said he had written to all party provincial chairpersons, provincial and district education secretaries beginning in Matabeleland alerting them of his visit. He said a thorough research was needed and talking through the media relegated the issue to a mere "talk show".
The development comes days after Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo told a inter-provincial workshop attended by different ministers at Elangeni Training Centre in Bulawayo that he would seek audience with Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora over the emotive issue.
"I have written to all party provincial chairpersons and secretaries advising them of the planned visit to assess the deployment of teachers. I know the issue of deploying non-Ndebele speaking teachers is a hot topic in the region and my party chairperson at the weekend said he would summon Dokora who is my deputy in the politburo," Ndlovu said.
"I need a comprehensive report on what is happening and such details are crucial for my central committee report for congress. They should tell me what they are doing about it. The danger of just talking through the media, but not addressing the root causes would render the issue a talk show. It has to be solved," he added.
Ndlovu said in the early 1980s, the same issue ruffled feathers and President Robert Mugabe had to "intervene".
"Mugabe said that was wrong and had to stop. At that time, teachers were recruited from Harare and just sent out to schools without the knowledge of both the provincial and district education officer and even staffing officers," he said.
Parents and educationists in Matabeleland have long blamed the low pass rate in the region on the deployment of Shona speaking teachers in both primary and secondary schools.
Pressure groups such as the Mthwakazi Youth Joint Leaders' Resolution have even protested the "unfair" deployments.
The pressure group demonstrated at Makuzeze Primary School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, demanding the transfer of the school head from Mashonaland after only one pupil passed the 2012 Grade 7 examinations.
Education officials and academics in Bulawayo last week blasted the Civil Service Commission for deploying non-Ndebele speakers to schools in the region and said this contributed to the low pass rate.
Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavhima said the government was revisiting the policy of deploying teachers to ensure children were taught by people who understood their mother tongue. This means that Shona-speaking teachers who are teaching in Bulawayo and other Matabeleland areas might soon be transferred to schools in Mashonaland and let Ndebele-speaking teachers teach at schools in Matabeleland.
There was a huge uproar in the southern region of the country following revelations that the 2013 Grade 7 Ndebele Paper 1 examination contained slang and other vulgar words, among other vocabulary, not commonly used in everyday conversation.