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SeSotho association pens books to promote language

by Staff reporter
23 Oct 2019 at 06:03hrs | Views
THE SeSotho Language and Culture Association is penning Sotho text books for Form One pupils in a bid to promote teaching of the subject in schools.

In an interview during a four-day workshop held in Gwanda recently, a member of the association who is also a research assistant at the Midlands State University Language Institute, Maretha Dube, said the association, working with Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Association (ZILA) and the Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion Association (ZILPA), had organised the workshop to capacitate writers and launch the writing process.

"We came together as various associations to conduct this workshop in order to equip our writers who're going to be penning Sotho textbooks for Form One learners. We brought in various technical personnel to capacitate us.

"Sotho was written last year by Grade Seven pupils for the first time since the late 1960s and now, we want to ensure that these learners continue with the subject at secondary level, that is why we are penning these textbooks. From this workshop, we hope to come up with manuscripts and cover a few chapters," Dube said.

She said they are targeting to have published the books by end of February next year.

As associations, Dube said, they will continue lobbying the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to ensure that more schools are taught Sotho at both primary and secondary level.

She said it was worrying that most primary schools are teaching the subject, but learners are not sitting for its exams. Although there are about 51 primary schools in the Sotho speaking areas, learners from only three primary schools wrote Grade Seven Sotho examinations.

The language, Dube said, was last written in the late 60s and then stopped being taught in schools. She said it was re-introduced effectively in 2013 and last year, it was written for the first time at Grade Seven level.

"At Primary level, Sotho is being taught, but at Secondary level, it's not there. At some tertiary institutions, it's there and we're trying to bridge the gap so that learners can progress with it at all levels. The other challenge we have in schools is availability of Sotho speaking teachers. Some teachers, after receiving training in the subject, get deployed to other provinces where the subject isn't taught. However, we'll continue to lobby the Ministry in this regard," Dube said.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Curriculum Development and Technical Services Department (CDTS) material production officer, Sibangelizwe Mhlalelwa, said while the current curriculum promotes learning and teaching of all 16 languages which are in the Constitution, all indigenous languages except Ndebele and Shona are still lagging behind.

She said as a department, once textbooks have been written, their role is to evaluate and approve them to ensure that they are in line with the curriculum and suitable to be used in schools.

"My duty at this workshop was to inform stakeholders on the expectations of the curriculum as they compile textbooks as well as to offer them guidance and point out how we expect their work to appear. There is still a lot of work that has to be done with regards to teaching and learning of indigenous languages in schools and producing learning material.

"The target of the Ministry is that by 2022, when we review the curriculum, all the languages have to have been tested. We commend efforts such as this one of penning Sotho textbooks and we urge all stakeholders to come in and assist in promoting indigenous languages," Mhlalelwa said.

Source - chronicle