Education Minister: ‘Schools are not Churches’

Harare – Dr Lazarus Dokora, the incumbent minister of education will go down in history as the most ‘quoted or misquoted minister’.

Barely a month go by without him making media headlines.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
Previously it was the national pledge – then the new curriculum widely contested by parents – and later on it was payment of school fees with livestock.
Dr Lazarus Dokora

Justifying his latest call to the Sunday Mail, Dokora said, “Stakeholders in the education sector should be able to separate schools from churches, it is true that everyone belongs to one religion or the other but when it comes to public educational institutions, bounds should be adhered to.”

Zimbabwe observers various religions, though Christianity is dominant.

“In terms of policy implementation, Zimbabwe and South Africa work hand in hand. This is what we have done in regard to the religion education model.”

A South African High court recently handed a judgment saying schools must not promote one religion.

“No one in the education sector be it teachers or stakeholders should promote the interests of any one religion in favour of others. It is in the interest of Zimbabwean democracy that public schools are not allowed to promote a particular religion, but that the choice of religion lies with pupils,” Dokora said.

Free worship is tolerated in the country.

“In 2013 the new Constitution stipulated the rights for education and religion. There is nowhere in the constitution where it is written that the religion of this country is this but there is a section where it states the freedom of conscience,” mentioned Dokora.

The controversial minister says Islam, Bahai, Buddhism and Christianity are all permissible. Belief disputes have rocked some schools after students were barred due to their beliefs.

Farai Benjamin Dzvova a Rastafarian was blocked from classes in 2007 for spotting dreadlocks. However, the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, saying his beliefs should be respected.


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