Post Independent Zimbabwe's new ‘O’ Level History Syllabus 2166: A crisis of expectations
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This study is a qualitative, retrospective analysis of the new ‘O’ Level Zimbabwe History Syllabus 2166, whose checkered-history culminated in its replacement, in 2002, by the Syllabus 2167. It examined the innovation process associated with the formulation, development and implementation of this curriculum change project, with a view to determining the problems, which bedevilled its successful operationalization in the secondary schools. To that end, the research established that the History Syllabus 2166 was formulated against the background of Zimbabwe’s transition from Capitalism to Socialism. Designed with a socialist ideological framework, the new syllabus was initially meant to facilitate this transition. Due to the political significance of the syllabus, the government wanted the implementation process carried out urgently. Consequently, the architects of the syllabus had very little time to consult widely with the relevant stakeholders during the period of formulation. There had been no pilot testing, or prior preparations made, in the production and distribution of adequate, relevant teaching and learning materials. The syllabus was just pre-maturely introduced into the schools, where the majority of the unprepared history teachers were required to implement it. Hence the failure to assert its rightful position in the school curriculum. The study concludes that Zimbabwe’s attempt to change her secondary school history curriculum was at best unsystematic, albeit radical, at worst contradictory.