PF’S new tribal curriculum

January 28, 2014 | Filed under: Editor's Choice | Posted by: +

The issue of literacy levels being low of the country has been going around for some time. UNESCO report advised Ministry of Education to start instructing learners in “FAMILIAR” language in a report “Language of instruction and the quality of basic education in Zambia” by Shay Linehan, 2004 (attached to this email) and just at the bottom of page 3 of the document. It stipulates:

“By 1995, there was a growing awareness within the Ministry of Education that reading and writing were better developed first in a language with which children were familiar.” Page 3

This looks simple as you read all documents related to this topic as they interchange “familiar language” and “local language”, but pay attention to the reasoning highlighted just below the above sentence that:

“it follows the basic principle of working from the known to the unknown, i.e. learning first in a known language (L1) and later moving into the unknown (L2);” Page 3

So basically, it is a language a child knows that it should be instructed in, not the language that is unknown to the child. PF has a serious mission with people being rewarded for this issue.

So if a child is in Kabulonga and can only speak English, it makes sense to instruct that child in English (a familiar language to that child), not chinyanja which is a “local language” for this province. Taking chinyanja in each school will achieve nothing in accordance with the report. However, children in rural areas and some compounds are only familiar with local languages. Therefore, those should be taught in local language.

I’m sure you know that the private schools also have been included in this measure when all the children, in rare cases 95% speak and are only familiar with english. So a disaster has been created by subjecting those to chinyanja or any such local language. Why have they made it compulsory for private schools, they want to promote tribalism? The Botswana paper (attached) condemned this form of education (Botswana allows teaching in Sestwana upto grade 2, thereafter english – Zambia will be upto grade 4, extra 2 years!).

This is the aim of the PF planners:

Look at the “local languages” for the province and mix those that overlap:

1. Bemba, local language now for Luapula, Northern, Muchinga, Central and Copperbelt provinces

2. Nyanja local lnaguage for Eastern and Lusaka

3. Southern – Tonga

4. Western – Lozi

5. North-Western – Lunda, Luvale and Kaonde

That covers all 7 languages, but in so doing, they have divided the country into power house with some independent and able to employ the masses if we say each one should speak their local language. The last three have been separated and left isolated. Divided and will be ruled by the top 2. This more dangerous tribal control.

Now ask which of these are PF’s “strong holds”? Bemba trying to control by using Nyanjas. Then later, they can just say the other languages have few people and contorl so majority should take over as the only local language. Bemba will take over.

That’s why they moved from “familiar language” to “local language” in their documents and against the research recommendation.

Ministry of education’s own papers, on page 39 says:

“The experience has not been altogether satisfactory. The fact that initial reading skills are taught in and through a language that is unfamiliar to the majority of children is believed to be a major contributory factor to the backwardness in reading shown by many Zambian children.”
So if they know about familiar language, why have they gone against this and taken “local language”. English has been eliminated even in cases where the majority of children speak only english – including private schools. All private schools have been commanded to teach in English. How many of their children or grand children will be trained to speak in local languages? They probably have taken all of them outside the country for primary school. They want to create ignorant people out of the many well educated Zambians.

Zambia Watch Dog, you have the mandate to inform people of this intention and at the same time stop PF from using this tool to dictate to people. No parent was consulted! The reports say something else but they have taken the familiar language and replaced it with local language to achieve an agenda they only want. MMD and UNIP avoided this and look at us compared to people from Tanzania, Malawi or Botswana. Do we want to be like them?

Please withhold my name

courtesy of:
Zambian Watchdog
Teaching in Local Language a farce
  by Mazuba Mwiinga

 "Its not the chances we take, but the choices we make that will determine our destiny". Dr. Kenneth Kaunda

AM I the only lost sheep or Jew in Jerusalem? No prizes for guessing what Iam trying to act up. Where is the sense or Am I the only one insane? How does it help someone's aptitude of reasoning; or am I the only bastard around. Really I cant cogitate, if I have to be George Mpombo with words for once; how being taught in my native or is it ethinic Tonga will make me more creative, more intelligent, more fastidious and understand lessons better. Explain to me, or else Iam adamant with my notion; not because I hate vernacular, but because I think we need to raise our heads higher than we want our children to.

So what happens to the Queen's language in Lower Primary? The mere fact that I started struggling speaking English at an eary Grade as one, today makes me proud to write it and speak it like I was born with it. Today Iam able to speak even better than some Englishman who breached the 'Nature, Nurture Controversy' law which says that language is inborn but must be learned.

The fact that Iam Tonga by birth does not make me a better Tonga speaking man or an expert in Tonga language; though my case may be different because of-course Iam an expert because I learnt this same Tonga language that I was born with. So teaching my children in Tonga all the subjects with a notion that it will make them understand these subjects better is an illusion because our school curriculum is European based, no matter how much we will try to localise it.

Wait a minute? What is 'Science' in Tonga or in your language? I know you will need an A4 page just to 'name' Science. And if you need to 'explain' in 'naming' something, how long will be the defination itself? 'Today we want to talk about the rain cycle'. Isnt this laughable when you come think of it?

Teaching our children in vernacular at a lower level of their education is such a backward idea. At a time when I thought we needed to start French, Latin, Spanish lessons in Kinder garten schools, is when we think of our local languages as a medium of instructions to these highly spirited boys and girls who have always wanted to go to school so they can learn the Queen's language. Iam hurt to the bone murrow because I dont see any logic in this; or am I from the new school of thought? The school of Global family where you take advantage of the weak brains to advance yourself?

By the gypsy fact that we are able to speak the 'whiteman's language puts us at a higher level of education because the whiteman doesnt understand our language, rendering him a 'loser'. Learning in your own language for four years, and to be reverted back to English when you were just gripping your foundational understanding of concepts will just make these innocent souls crazy because the first fours of education in a child's growth are very important for a child's grasping of issues he or she needs to advance in life.

Why is it that everything we knew of in the Old School of reasoning is being upheld this time around when we are supposed to be talking about advancing our mental faculties into brighter and more advanced areas of thinking. This is a Computer Age; an age of invention, creative thought and exchange of ideas at an Universal level. Our community is nolonger monolic. 

We live in a world of globalisation where a medium of communication is such a fundamental norm in the life of a person. Situations are there in countries being refered to where local languages are being used as a means of instructions in lower Schools;these pupils are being prepared for the local market where there are no jobs, because they cant excel their trades to other countries because of language barriers. I have seen alot of Zimbabwean youths with sharp technical skills, end up being garders in Zambia because they are unable to communicate with their prospective employers due to their being taught in Shona or Ndebele and understand their trades in their respective languages.

The first four years of lower primary school is a cardinal and sensitive time in a child's life where grasping things is concerned. No wonder today we have problems with people from the old school in terms of delivering their messages to the world community despite their being highly learned. They mis-pronounce words, they struggle to express themselves in other Languages that are used at a global level; yet they are highly educated. 

Emphasis be put here that, learning your local language and being taught in your local language in all the subjects, are two different things. Remember the first cut is the deepest. What you expose the children first is the thing that will stick in thier sharp mind. And to change it at a later stage will need another five or six years to settle. And by that time these pupils will have to be writing serious compositions in English for them to pass the English language which is compulsory for certification.

Isnt it infact such a paradox or thorny irony that for one to get a Grade 7, Grade 9 and even School Certificate they have to pass English Language, yet you teach these children in a local language that will mean nothing to them in future, instead of exposing them to English at an early stage so that they get familiar with it as they grow; rather than putting so much pressure for them to learn how to speak and write English Language later in education so that they get certified. A poor background in everything that one does, always becomes a hussle to deal with in later stages.

Zambia needs to learn, and learn so wisely. The same thing they are supporting today is just the same as the things they supported in 2011 which today have so bad effects on our lives. Be it put on record that, our today's choices are our tomorrow's lives. 

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda once said, "Its not the chances we take, but the choices we make that will determine our destiny".

Cry Our Bereaved Constitution

by Mazuba Mwiinga

TIME tells of a people who when suffocated with despotism, that has all its resources to defend itself violently, patriotic citizens mostly take the logical route of non violence in driving their points home; and such a measure always shaks those in power with drenches of fear like a palm tree in a tornado. The rumbling words from one famous classic novel by Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country say it well:

“This is no time to talk of hedges and fields, or the beauties of any country. . . . Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end”.

And for sure our Zambia is never a beloved nation, but a country in bereavement. What we see happening to those demanding for the release of our Republican Constitution today is a mark-post for everyone to know the course of President Micheal Sata’s future actions on those who fight brave battles like Fr. Bwalya, McDonald Chipenzi, Hakainde Hichilema and others. We cry loudly today for our bereaved mother Zambia, because what was permissible then when multi-party politics re-entered our arena, is now a resounding choking noise of death chambers; just to silence the right cause and allow illegalities to continue.

What we voted for then; more money in our pockets, Republican Constitution in 90 days; so we were told is now illegal and our courageous brothers like Fr. Bwalya, who publicly supported the seating government today are sent behind bars.

But one thing, one Republican President Micheal Chilufya Sata ignores to know is that; steel bars do not make a person a prisoner, nor high concentrated Prison Walls make one a jail bird, for freedom comes from the heart and not from out of confinement. If the heart is free of what a person is fighting for; no rehabilitation is taking place and no retribution is being achieved even when you throw him in jaws of incarceration.

That’s why people like the late Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in Prison, but their hearts never failed their ideals and what they fought for was at last achieved without any remorse of being in Prison.

Micheal Chilufya Sata must learn and learn very quickly that it is not permissible to add to one's possessions if these things can only be done at the cost of other men for such development has only one true name, and that is misuse, abuse and mistreatment and is punishable by the law.

Although nothing has come yet, something is here already. It has started with a simple Prayer at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross; just as Fr. Bwalya started it with simple RED CARD; a paper without a mouth that instilled so much fear in those who begged for authority, just like how the PF is kneeling for power. By dragging Fr. Bwalya, Chipenzi, Richard Sakala and others to the court they think one thing is about to be finished, but they don’t know that here is something that is only begun. It happened in the Rupiah Banda regime, and when we told them this very truth, they said we were inciting people; just as the PF is saying now; yet we were just asking them to check their step. And today they are in the opposition.

We know that the darkest hour comes before dawn and when dawn finally comes, of our liberation, from the fear of repression and the burden of fear, who knows who gets out and who gets inside State House - that is our sacred secret.

Fr. Bwalya and others need a pat on the back because they have shown us how cowardly ‘giants’ can be; just a tingling voice made out of a combination of words has made them spend sleepless nights in bed because they know  how powerful the power of the people is. The silent noise of prayer asking for God's intervantion in PF's stance over the Constitution tells volumes of how this fight is not just for the Church and Civil Society, but for every patriotic Zambian who cares and cries for their bereaved country.

Something deep is touched here; something that is good and deep is coming for our tormented nation.