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Southern African Journal of Environmental Education

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Exploring the Relevance and Quality of the VaRemba Initiation School Curriculum and its Impact on Formal Schooling in a Rural District in Zimbabwe

C Chikunda, P Shoko

Abstract


The study explores the relevance and quality of the VaRemba initiation school curriculum and analyses its impact on formal education. A case study design was used to come up with a descriptive, interpretive as well as an evaluative account of the initiation curriculum and its impact on formal schooling in Chomusenda village in Mberengwa district of Zimbabwe. Interviews, questionnaires, observations and analysis of records were used to gather data from teachers, initiates and elderly community members. The study established that the VaRemba initiation curriculum perpetuates gender stereotypical roles and has some aspects which are unsustainable and in tension with formal schooling. Girls are channeled towards reproductive roles and the private sphere while boys are geared for productive roles and public sphere. High dropout from formal schooling is witnessed soon after initiation, as the initiation curriculum seems to tell initiates that they are ‘ripe’ for adult life. However, the curriculum has aspects that contribute to moral development of young people. The study recommends a paradigm shift, to embrace the ubuntu philosophy in the two education systems as a way to harmonise them.






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