PF’S new tribal curriculum

Editor,
The issue of literacy levels being low of the country has been going around for some time. UNESCO report advised Ministry of Education to start instructing learners in “FAMILIAR” language in a report “Language of instruction and the quality of basic education in Zambia” by Shay Linehan, 2004 (attached to this email) and just at the bottom of page 3 of the document. It stipulates:

“By 1995, there was a growing awareness within the Ministry of Education that reading and writing were better developed first in a language with which children were familiar.” Page 3

This looks simple as you read all documents related to this topic as they interchange “familiar language” and “local language”, but pay attention to the reasoning highlighted just below the above sentence that:

“it follows the basic principle of working from the known to the unknown, i.e. learning first in a known language (L1) and later moving into the unknown (L2);” Page 3

So basically, it is a language a child knows that it should be instructed in, not the language that is unknown to the child. PF has a serious mission with people being rewarded for this issue. 

So if a child is in Kabulonga and can only speak English, it makes sense to instruct that child in English (a familiar language to that child), not chinyanja which is a “local language” for this province. Taking chinyanja in each school will achieve nothing in accordance with the report. However, children in rural areas and some compounds are only familiar with local languages. Therefore, those should be taught in local language. 

I’m sure you know that the private schools also have been included in this measure when all the children, in rare cases 95% speak and are only familiar with english. So a disaster has been created by subjecting those to chinyanja or any such local language. Why have they made it compulsory for private schools, they want to promote tribalism? The Botswana paper (attached) condemned this form of education (Botswana allows teaching in Sestwana upto grade 2, thereafter english – Zambia will be upto grade 4, extra 2 years!).

This is the aim of the PF planners:

Look at the “local languages” for the province and mix those that overlap:

1. Bemba, local language now for Luapula, Northern, Muchinga, Central and Copperbelt provinces

2. Nyanja local lnaguage for Eastern and Lusaka

3. Southern – Tonga

4. Western – Lozi

5. North-Western – Lunda, Luvale and Kaonde

That covers all 7 languages, but in so doing, they have divided the country into power house with some independent and able to employ the masses if we say each one should speak their local language. The last three have been separated and left isolated. Divided and will be ruled by the top 2. This more dangerous tribal control. 

Now ask which of these are PF’s “strong holds”? Bemba trying to control by using Nyanjas. Then later, they can just say the other languages have few people and contorl so majority should take over as the only local language. Bemba will take over.

That’s why they moved from “familiar language” to “local language” in their documents and against the research recommendation. 

Ministry of education’s own papers, on page 39 says:

“The experience has not been altogether satisfactory. The fact that initial reading skills are taught in and through a language that is unfamiliar to the majority of children is believed to be a major contributory factor to the backwardness in reading shown by many Zambian children.”
So if they know about familiar language, why have they gone against this and taken “local language”. English has been eliminated even in cases where the majority of children speak only english – including private schools. All private schools have been commanded to teach in English. How many of their children or grand children will be trained to speak in local languages? They probably have taken all of them outside the country for primary school. They want to create ignorant people out of the many well educated Zambians. 

Zambia Watch Dog, you have the mandate to inform people of this intention and at the same time stop PF from using this tool to dictate to people. No parent was consulted! The reports say something else but they have taken the familiar language and replaced it with local language to achieve an agenda they only want. MMD and UNIP avoided this and look at us compared to people from Tanzania, Malawi or Botswana. Do we want to be like them?

Please withhold my name

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