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Gwanda High to introduce Sesotho subject

by Staff reporter
12 Jan 2024 at 05:04hrs | Views
GWANDA High School has started working towards introducing SeSotho as one of the subjects to be taught at the school in line with Government policy of promoting the teaching of all indigenous languages in schools, including those spoken by minority groups.

Already, Government has started training more indigenous languages and science teachers under its Teacher Capacity Development programme.

Zimbabwe has 16 official languages and the training of more teachers in local languages reverses a trend whereby Shona and Ndebele were mostly taught in schools.

Historical factors such as colonialism had a huge impact on languages, resulting in the marginalisation and rapid decline in the use of indigenous and minority languages.

Government has since crafted principles of the Languages Bill which seek to safeguard the country's 16 official languages in fulfilment of Section 6 of the Constitution meant to promote multilingualism.

The proposed law champions the need for the promotion of multilingualism, respect for language rights and linguistic preference as fundamental to the process of nationalism, development of augmentative and alternative communication systems for people with impediments that inhibit communication.

The 16 official languages in Zimbabwe are Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.

Gwanda High School is located in the heart of Gwanda district, an area which is home to predominantly SeSotho-speaking people.

In 2019, Sesotho was first written during the Grade Seven public examinations, a move which pushed the SeSotho Language and Culture Association (SLACA) to come up with the Form One SeSotho textbook.

In an interview, Gwanda High School headmaster Mr Arthur Maphosa said the geographical position of the school prompted them to introduce the SeSotho language as one of the subjects taught at the school

"The subject is now offered in Grade 7 and as long as it is not offered at secondary school level, it won't be unfair to children who will find themselves having limited in choice when they proceed to Advanced level," he said.

Mr Maphosa said they have started to follow procedures and now await the approval and equipping of teachers.

"Our enrolment has increased and we are applying for an increased number of teachers, which means that the ministry has to get approval from the Public Service Commission to employ more teachers," he said.

Zimbabwe Sotho Development Initiative (ZIMSODI) Trust director Mrs Maretha Dube-Mazhale who is also a language researcher at Midlands State University (MSU) National Language Institute said the introduction of SeSotho at the secondary level is a welcome move.

"I believe that the introduction of the SeSotho language is a welcome move to the Sotho speakers in Gwanda as the language is an identity marker and carrier of culture. If learners are taught in their language, they comprehend concepts effectively," she said.

"Gwanda High School is in a rainbow province, Matebeleland South, a province with multi-languages and cultures. Therefore, it is strategically located to embrace Sotho. Gwanda town is a provincial capital surrounded by Sotho language speakers."

Mrs Dube-Mazhale said it is important to embrace the provisions of the constitution by including all the 16 officially recognised languages.

Source - The Chronicle
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