Former Minister of Education, Sport and Culture David Coltart has defended the recently launched national pledge saying it is principally correct but wrongly implemented.
The pledge was launched in schools at the beginning of the second school term on May, 3, but was received with mixed feelings as public schools embraced it while a majority of private ones rejected it.
Parents and churches have been campaigning against its recital saying it violates the country’s Constitution and their religious beliefs.
However, the Government has defended it saying its contents are derived from the Preamble to the country’s Constitution.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday, former MDC Bulawayo Senator Coltart said Minister Lazarus Dokora’s intentions may be good but misunderstood.
Primary and Secondary Minister Dokora deputised Mr Coltart during the inclusive Government.
He said the pledge can promote patriotism among pupils.
“In principle the pledge is fine. In principle there is nothing wrong about getting children to recite a pledge. Many nations do it, it can build patriotism in children,” he said.
However, Mr Coltart said, the method of implementation had led to the outcry from parents and guardians.
“My concern about the pledge is two-fold. Firstly, I don’t think there was adequate consultation done and that’s not necessarily Minister Dokora’s fault. It might be a fault within the ministry. It seems to me in a Christian church and among other parents, rightly or wrongly, it came as a surprise,” said Mr Coltart.
“It wasn’t a good way of implementing a policy. Secondly, the pledge is too complex. We’re talking about a pledge that primary schoolchildren have to remember and recite.”
Mr Coltart said the pledge was also too long and not easily understood by pupils.