Decolonising curriculum change and implementation: Voices from Social Studies Zimbabwean Teachers
Keywords:Curriculum change, Curriculum implementation, Decolonisation, Social Studies, Ubuntu, ‘Usable past’
In 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a Eurocentric education system from the British colony, aimed at the perpetuation of the subordination and silencing of the African child. When the government of Zimbabwe noticed the infestation of the colonial wound, demonstrated by the irrelevance and in-applicability of the inherited education system, it called for its reconstruction on a new curriculum, which was rolled out in 2015. However, Zimbabwean Social Studies teachers reported intractable inconsistencies in curriculum design and implementation between what is taught in the classroom and what is expected in the society, which they linked to lack of Ubuntu values and a decolonization perspective. Using the Social Studies curriculum as a case and the Ubuntu lens as a conceptual framework, this qualitative study investigates the strategies which can be used to reform the curriculum so that it speaks to the dictates of the Zimbabwean community in which it serves. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) from 12 purposefully sampled Social Studies teachers located in different school settings of Zimbabwe namely the rural, urban, growth points and farm areas. Findings indicated that the ‘usable past’ anchored in Ubuntu values as part of the decolonization agenda, though not given serious consideration in Zimbabwe, is fundamental to curriculum reform and implementation. Considering the findings, the study recommends the revisiting and extracting from the African past and its values to drive curriculum change to prepare the learner to lead an African life in the African continent. The study elucidates the need for a collective psyche in educational change in which curriculum planners practise cordial relations and engage the teachers in curriculum construction to perfect curriculum design and implementation.