|The government says its not going back on the national pledge.|
It says teacher organisations which are rejecting the national pledge and with an intention of challenging the matter in court are free to do so as Zimbabwe is a democratic country.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora made the remarks soon after the closing ceremony of the 35th Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) annual conference in Victoria Falls.
Since its launch last month, the national pledge has been meeting stiff resistance from various teaching organisations, with ZIMTA alleging government used military approach to force the concept to the sector without any consultations.
ZIMTA also argued that the national pledge violates the rights of the children because it is not in the constitution as claimed by the government.
“So now we are in a dilemma where we have a pledge that begins as a prayer. The Christian will tell you that this is not how we mix up secular world and the world of religion. Why does it sound like a prayer and then you go on to say all those things? So there is a huge reaction from the Christian world and then also is Zimbabwe a Christian country? Should the schools force all the children to pray like that? What about the other religions,” asked Richard Gundane, from ZIMTA.
Dr Dokora, however, insists that the issue of the national pledge is constitutional and those who are planning to take the matter to court can go ahead.
“There are already pledges by the way at the classroom, Binga district for instance, there is already a pledge there which was pre-existing the national one. This one is only national because it`s coming from the constitution so really those that have said they will go to court, you know it`s democratic country, I am quite happy to meet anybody anywhere,” said Dr Dokora.
The national pledge has also been challenged for the reason that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education prescribed methods of teaching and therefore violates professional independence of teachers.
Some church organisations have also join in the attack to the national pledge saying it is ungodly as it is forcing children to take oath, make covenants or vows before God which according to the Bible is sinful.