PRIMARY and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora has said more than one million people across the country were consulted before the government came up with the National Pledge which is being recited in all schools.
He said most of the extracts of the National Pledge were taken from the national Constitution which he said was a product of national consensus after it was subjected to a referendum.
Minister Dokora said this while giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education.
“We went full force to the people, we were on radio and other media. Consultations were done and almost one million people were consulted. We did our consultations wholeheartedly, constraints might have been on resources,” said Minister Dokora.
“These statements are in the preamble of the national Constitution.”
He said the concept of national pledge was not unique in Zimbabwe but resonated in all other countries, even developed ones like America and Britain. “We’ve not done that which hasn’t been done in other countries,” said Minister Dokora. He said the National Pledge was currently being translated into 15 languages including sign language to ensure a wider reach.
All schools including trust schools are obliged to recite the national pledge, he said.
Glen View North MP Fani Munengami (MDC-T) asked why other government institutions like Parliament were not asked to recite the National Pledge if it was that important.
“That’s your prerogative to do that. My mandate is on primary and secondary schools. If you want it to be extended to other institutions, that’s your prerogative as Parliament,” said Minister Dokora.
Earlier on Minister Dokora went through each stanza of the national pledge explaining its import which he said were extraction from the preamble of the Constitution. He said the National Pledge was part of the national curriculum review, saying a lot would be seen on various levels of learning next year arising from the process of curriculum review. There has been an outcry from some parents who claimed that the government had not consulted them in coming up with the National Pledge. Some parents have since initiated court action challenging the introduction of the national pledge.
Responding to other questions, Minister Dokora denied that Scripture Unions had been banned in schools.
“It is not banned. That is a full no,” he said.