Zimbabwe’s Educational System Implements Major Changes

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Zimbabwe’s Educational System Implements Major Changes

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals:

Last September of 2015, world leaders gathered at the The United Nations Sustainable Development (UNDP) Summit to develop a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These Global Goals are aimed at tackling big-world issues like poverty, inequality, and overall health and well-being, with the end goal of creating a better world for all. These new SDGs go much further than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the past, as the SDGs address the root causes of poverty as well as the universal need for development that works for everyone. The SDGs have been adopted to finish the unfinished work of the MDGs by ensuring no one is left behind (UNDP, 2016).

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UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, states the following: “This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and well-being, and to preserve our planet” (UNDP, 2016).

Of these 17 SDGs, four goals that particularly align with the mission of 2 Seconds Or Less (2SOL) are the following: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, and Sustainable Cities and Communities. According to the UNDP (2016), the plan is to work toward achieving these Global Goals by year 2030. The adoption of these SDGs is a move in the right direction for the country of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Adopts Zero Draft Curriculum Framework in Schools:

As of January, 2016, major changes have been made to Zimbabwe’s primary and secondary educational system. Changes will continue to be implemented through the remaining months of  2016 and in years to follow.

Education Minister Dr. Lazarus Dokora

Education Minister Dr. Lazarus Doko

According to primary and secondary Education Minister, Dr. Lazarus Dokora, on September 22, 2015, Zimbabwe leaders agreed to endorse the Zero Draft Curriculum Framework in primary and secondary schools (The Herald, 2013). This new curriculum focuses on subjects such as Agriculture, languages, Information Communication Technology, Science, Maths, Science, Statistics and Physics (Matabvu, 2015). Online news site The Herald (2013) states the following about the Zero Draft Curriculum Framework:

“The aims of the new curriculum include motivating learners to cherish their Zimbabwean identity and value their heritage, history, and cultural tradition and preparing them for participatory citizenship.

It will also prepare learners for life and work in an indigenised economy and increasingly  globalised and competitive environment and ensuring learners demonstrate desirable literacy and numeracy skill, including practical competences necessary for life.

Other aims of the new system are preparing and orienting learners for participation in voluntary service and leadership, and fostering life-long learning in line with the emerging opportunities and challenges of the knowledge of society.”

The endorsement of this new curriculum into Zimbabwe’s educational sector will likely have a positive outcome for the future of the country. The addition of agricultural education alone is expected to have a profound impact on the nation, as the World Bank states agriculture as essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s growth, and for achieving the Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being SDG’s as described above.

2 Seconds Or Less’ Outdoor Classroom: A Hands-on Approach to Learning:

Although the addition of agricultural education into Zimbabwe’s educational framework is a huge step toward preparing competent citizens for its future, there remains a lack in hands-on experiential learning found in the curriculum. Much research supports the fact that hands-on, problem solving learning is much more effective than traditional text-book based methods of learning. In fact, one Purdue University study revealed that 8th grade students taught science in classes where the goal was to design and build a device to perform a specific task scored significantly higher on a final test than students who received traditional classroom instruction (Callahan, 2009). Moreover, a study published in Psychological Science directed by Professor Sian Beilock, an internationally recognized expert on the mind–body connection and author of the book How the Body Knows Its Mind, found that students who physically experience scientific concepts understand them more deeply and score higher on science tests (Ingmire, 2015).

“In many situations, when we allow our bodies to become part of the learning process, we understand better,” Beilock said. “Reading about a concept in a textbook or even seeing a demonstration in class is not the same as physically experiencing what you are learning about. We need to rethink how we are teaching math and science because our actions matter for how and what we learn” (Ingmire, 2015).

It sounds obvious, but surprisingly, hands-on experiences are often being replaced by traditional methods in schools. It may be true that a child may learn something interesting when reading about gardening practices from a textbook, but how much more will be learned if he/she engages in the actual hands-on process of planting a garden for him/herself?

 

 

Involving children in actual hands-on physical experiences in which their many senses are engaged within the environment outside their classroom walls is the key to effective life-long learning. This is why a hands-on approach to learning in which students can learn in an “outdoor classroom” is at the heart and center of 2SOL’s educational curriculum and work in Zimbabwe. 2SOL provides children with biblically-based, hands-on training in agriculture and food production. Children are active participants in our nutrition garden projects from start to finish, as they help in planning, preparing, planting, and maintaining the garden. We believe that if we involve the children of Zimbabwe in real-world farming practices rather continuing to teach them through traditional teaching methods, then they will learn to provide not only for themselves, but also for their families, for their communities, and for their country.

 Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

For a behind-the-scenes look at the work we are involved in, watch 2SOL’s video Harvesting Manna below.

References:

Cabinet approves education curriculum framework. The Herald. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.herald.co.zw/cabinet-approves-education-curriculum-framework/

Callahan, R. (2009). Purdue study: hands-on learning better. The Associated Press. Retrieved from https://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/learningcenter/assets/pdfs/HandsOn.pdf

Fact Sheet: the world bank and agriculture in Africa. World Bank. (2013). Retrieved from http://go.worldbank.org/GUJ8RVMRL0 

Ingmire, J. (2015). Learning by doing helps students perform better in science. UChicagoNews. Retreived from https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/04/29/learning-doing-helps-students-perform-better-science

Matabvu, D. (2015). New schools curricula in 2016. The Sunday Mail. Retrieved from http://www.sundaymail.co.zw/story-22/

Sustainable development goals (SDGs). UNDP. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html

 

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