The education system in Zimbabwe has been characterised by teacher education programmes that are different for secondary school teachers and primary school teachers. Whilst both categories of student teachers study theory of education, the major differences are in specialisation and generalisation. The primary school teacher in addition to the theories of education, studies applied education during which the student teacher has to learn to teach all the subjects found in the primary school curriculum in Zimbabwe. In addition to that, they also study a Main Subject. On the other hand, the secondary school student teacher had to specialise in the teaching of two subjects that are offered in the secondary school curriculum. In practice, primary school teachers are in charge of the whole class, teaching all subjects, whereas secondary school teachers would come and deliver their lesson and leave soon after their time. The arrangement in some primary schools has since changed. Some primary schools are now following the subject specialisation system, which for all along had been a preserve for the secondary school. The study was therefore prompted by this new development in primary schools. The purpose of the study was to assess the attitudes and perceptions of pupils, teachers and parents towards subject specialisation at primary school. The study used the qualitative research methodology and the case study design. Two primary schools which have adopted the subject specialisation system were conveniently selected. Interviews and open-ended questionnaires were used to collect data. The study found that there was mixed views on the role of subject specialisation at primary school. The major stance being that at primary school children need a motherly and fatherly care and this can only be provided when one person is in charge of the class throughout the day. While the academic performance of the teachers and pupils had relatively improved, the guidance and counselling role had been compromised in the schools. The study concludes by making recommendations to the Ministry of Secondary and Primary Education.
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Author Name: Wellington Samkange
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Keywords: Subject specialisation; Primary school; Curriculum; Education system; Teacher Education.