TEACHERS colleges should not enrol students who did not pass O’ Level Mathematics, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said yesterday. Prof Moyo told a graduation ceremony for intake 14 at Mkoba Teachers College in Gweru that Mathematics was the foundation for the science and technology-biased new teaching curriculum championed by his ministry under the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative.
There can be no education without Mathematics, he said. “At the very least, teachers are mathematically grounded. There can be no STEM without Mathematics. There’s no education without Mathematics. It’s for this reason that anyone who has not passed O’ Level Mathematics with a grade ‘C’ or better cannot be ready to be developed and trained as today’s teacher for a science and technology-oriented curriculum. Mathematics is the mother of not just STEM but education itself and the entire spectrum of education,” the minister said.
He said today’s primary school teacher should be well grounded to deliver a science and technology-oriented curriculum. He told an audience of lecturers, parents and students: “This was one among other key fundamentals that informed the recent curriculum review exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. As a rejoinder to that exercise, our ministry commissioned a Teacher Education Curriculum Review done by the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Teacher Education which conducted a situational analysis of teacher education to inform a new strategy for developing and training today’s teacher grounded in science and technology.
“I have in the same vein recently concluded comprehensive interactive sessions with tertiary institutions across the country which included Mkoba to gather views on pedagogical and other substantive issues regarding teacher competences, teacher concerns and policy challenges.”
He said what the new teacher needs is not only knowledge of curriculum-based technologies that work but also knowledge of the application of these technologies to solve everyday problems in our communities. Prof Moyo said the new teacher “requires subject mastery, pedagogical know-what and technological know-how”.
He added that teachers need to know not only what the technology is and its local relevance, but also what learners are likely to do with that technology to achieve educational and national objectives of the curriculum.
“This is partially true of ECD teaching. The fact that 119 out of today’s 449 graduands are ECD teachers is commendable. The training of competent ECD teachers is of tremendous importance and requires special attention. Part of the ministry’s mandate is to plan, develop and train human capital not just for the education sector but for the entire economy in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act Chapter 28:02,” said Prof Moyo.
“ECD is the new foundation of our country’s system of education. All the five key learning areas in the new curriculum are rooted in ECD from where the areas will find expression through high school, higher and tertiary education and all the way to the labour market.”
As such, Prof Moyo said, there was need for the country to get the ECD education right as the root of the new curriculum. “For that to happen, we must get the right ECD teacher and for that to happen Mkoba (Teachers’ College) must develop and train today’s ECD teacher for a science and technology-oriented curriculum.
“In this connection, I commend the college for the sterling work it is doing to develop and train the much needed ECD teachers to meet the human capital requirements of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“I’m of course aware that the other 330 graduands from the General Course are also today’s teachers for a science and technology-oriented curriculum. Such a curriculum can only be delivered by teachers who are STEMITISED for them to be able to deliver a science and technology-oriented curriculum as an expression of STEM.”