One of our mandates as the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), is advocating for the sustainable advancement of education in Zimbabwe. Of particular concern is the government’s proposed Heritage-Based Education Curriculum for the per2024–20302030. While the curriculum purports to promote patriotism, loyalty, and respect, we believe that there are significant flaws that undermine its intended goals.  The principles for the proposed new curriculum are couched in all the right words we have been clamouring for. We have called for reducing compulsory subjects, it has been promised, we called for reduction of CALA, it has been promised, we called for infrastructure development in rural schools it has been promised, we are clamouring for improved welfare for teachers it has been promised and technological investment has been promised.

One of the fundamental pillars for successful curriculum implementation is the presence of motivated teachers. However, the government’s plan remains alarmingly silent on this crucial aspect. Without proper motivation, teachers may struggle to effectively deliver the curriculum, ultimately impacting the quality of education provided to our children.

While the government boasts about improving budgetary allocation towards education, our worries lie in the priorities outlined. Instead of addressing critical needs within the education sector, such as teacher training and resources, the focus seems to be directed towards infrastructure development in farms. This misalignment raises questions about the government’s commitment to enhancing the quality of education.

A curriculum that genuinely caters to the needs of learners, teachers, and parents must be the result of extensive consultation with these stakeholders. Unfortunately, the government’s proposed curriculum lacks evidence of broad-based engagement. The government risks implementing a curriculum that fails to address the diverse needs and aspirations of those within the education system.

Inclusive education stands as a cornerstone of an equitable society. However, the proposed curriculum falls short in addressing the needs of learners with disabilities. Without qualified teachers who are equipped to teach and support these learners effectively, we are further disadvantaging them.

The current history curriculum in Zimbabwe has long been criticized for its biased portrayal, favoring the ruling government. Our children deserve a comprehensive and balanced understanding of our nation’s history, free from political manipulation. We however take exception to the issue of emphasizing the learning of a flawed history of Zimbabwe. The current history was written to simply praise those who assumed power in 1980. The True history of Zimbabwe, including important roles of ZAPU, Ndabaningi Sithole and all liberation war heroes should be taught. The missteps of the ruling party and violations of human rights post-independence including Gukurahundi must be taught in our schools. The heroic sacrifices of people like Morgan Tsvangirayi towards producing the current constitution must be part of the taught history. History should not be a eulogy of ZANU PF but a detailed account of our past to inform the future endeavors.

The emphasis on patriotism, loyalty, and the national pledge in the proposed curriculum raises concerns about the government’s intentions. We fear that these elements serve as tools for brainwashing and controlling the younger generation, stifling their ability to think critically and independently. Education should empower students to question, analyze, and form their own opinions, rather than imposing a singular ideological narrative.

Furthermore, the proposed curriculum suffers from a lack of clarity and valuable information. Specific details, such as the weight of school-based projects and their assessment mechanisms, remain unclear. This ambiguity leaves room for subjective interpretations and raises questions about the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in education.

We will however not celebrate these promises, the preamble of the 2015 to 2022 was also couched in the right terms but the detailed blueprint was a direct opposite.  Funding of these good intentions is also important. Treasury has shown a stinking austerity attitude which is not in line with realising these big promises.

We will however monitor the implementation of the promises and hold duty bearers accountable. Nothing will remain on paper.