By Daniel Chigundu
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora has denied banning Scripture Unions in school but said he is only trying to bring order.
Government introduced the school national pledge at the beginning of the 2016 second term and stopped holding of Scripture Unions, banned the Lord’s Prayer and even went further to stop distribution of bibles in schools by The Gideons Foundation.
The decision did not go down well with Christians who went on to accuse Minister Dokora of being Muslim and fronting Muslim interests in the country.
Prayer Network Zimbabwe (PNZ) even went a step further and staged a demo against Dokora were they also submitted their petition demanding scraping of the decisions.
Appearing before a Parliamentary Committee of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Minister Dokora said he had to make the decision because organisations were just coming to schools to do whatever they liked.
“Contrary to what some people are saying that we banned Scripture Unions, the real issue is that people and organizations were just coming to schools to do whatever they wanted.
“Some claimed that they had memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with the school heads or with the schools, but we are saying those MOUs should be at national level, they should come to us first if they want to do something at schools.
“We want to understand what they are doing so that we are able to monitor their activities as well,” said Dokora.
Minister Dokora said consultations were done before the decisions were made, adding they used schools and community halls where members of the public were welcome to make their suggestions.
He said the changes that are taking place are part of the new school curriculum which is expected to start taking precedents in 2017.
Dokora also revealed that the new curriculum will change among other things grade seven examinations and teacher to pupil ratio adding that his ministry is working with treasury to mobilize resources for the smooth implementation.
Meanwhile, Minister Dokora has said the national pledge is only confined to primary and secondary schools only because that is where his mandate is limited to.
Others had suggested that the pledge be extended to Members of Parliament and even to cabinet Ministers.
By Daniel Chigundu