Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
LANGUAGE activists have hailed the Government’s efforts to recognise the country’s 16 official languages through its new policy requiring student teachers to learn at least four local languages.
Last year Government announced that it would be mandatory for all student teachers to learn at least four local languages of their choice from the country’s 16 official languages.
The move is aimed at promoting inclusivity in the education sector and to make it easy for teachers to be deployed to any parts of the country.
In an interview, Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association (KLCDA) Head of Publicity, Divine Bhango Dube said the new policy promotes the recognition of official languages that were previously marginalised.
“The new policy by the Government which stipulates that prior to graduation a teacher must be conversant in four languages (including English) might somehow help in the promotion of previously marginalised indigenous languages,” he said.
Mr Dube said his association has also advocated for teaching of Tjikalanga from primary to tertiary level following the recognition of 16 official languages in the Constitution.
“Since 2013 following the adoption of a new Constitution which recognises 16 official languages, my language Kalanga included, as an association we have been advocating for the full teaching of Tjikalanga in primary and university level,” he said.
“I am glad to say that our efforts have to date seen Tjikalanga being taught from primary to university level although there are still gaps here and there that include lack of adequate teaching literature and the wherewithal by some school administrators to embrace the teaching of previously marginalised languages.”
Mr Dube urged government to ensure that there are adequate resources to promote proper teaching of these languages and must address issues that impede the teaching of these languages.
“As an association we feel that the critical issues that must be addressed by the Government include deployment of teachers who are qualified to teach previously marginalised languages such as Tjikalanga to relevant areas. It also includes adequately resourcing the teaching of these languages especially production of literature and learning aids,” he said.
“As an association we are willing as we have always done before, to complement government efforts to promote indigenous languages as they are mandated by the Constitution.”
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) recently commended the Government on its new policy saying it must be extended to all practitioners involved in the public service.
According to the Constitution, the country’s 16 official languages are Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.—@michellzvanyanyan2