Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora faced a torrid time in Parliament yesterday and had to deny that he is a Muslim. Legislators were trying to ascertain the truthfulness of rumours which have gone viral over new media accusing the minister of trying to smuggle Islamic Studies in the New Education Curriculum, which was introduced this term.
Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda asked the minister
Minister, is the expansion of the new curriculum introducing Islamic studies?
I think that is what the nation is waiting to hear from the minister. Let him answer that question because there is clear apprehension from the people outside.
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The minister responded by saying that both the new and the old curriculums have always emphasised a multi-faith approach. Using this approach pupils are taught about all major religions. i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, African Traditional Religion.
You will find that we have maintained the themes as carried in the old curriculum to the new curriculum and we can make it available for publication. We are not introducing Islamic studies, they were already there.
However, the MP did not seem satisfied with this answer and followed up with:
Hon. Minister, you are talking of varying the curriculum, is the varying of the curriculum including introduction of Islamic studies and are you Moslem yourself?
Dokora responded with:
…I hold this rosary here, so whether I say one thing or another, you are fixated with what you have been reading and that may not necessarily be a fair invitation to a contestation here.
If you were to look at the 1980 to 1987 curriculum, you will find that we have had a wide religious system in this country, we have had Judaism, Islam and all other religions in Zimbabwe. So we are not introducing anything, but just enlarging the sphere and scope of our education system
So, exactly where this question is coming from, certainly not from the new curriculum, we are not introducing Islam, it has always been there just as Judaism
The debate abated when Harare West MP Jessie Majome suggested that Dokora should provide copies of the new curriculum to lawmakers, so that they may be able to study it and seek clarification from Dokora where there is need.