Large investments in education after independence in 1980 quickly produced results in a relatively well-educated population. The rapid decline in society after the turn of the millennium hit the school system hard, but now most children go to school again. Reading and writing skills are still high.
The children must start school at the age of six and have a formal compulsory schooling for the first seven school years. Thereafter, there are two additional stages of a total of six years. Most children attend state schools. These should be free, but in practice fees are common. Schools are also run privately, especially by Christian missionaries.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Zimbabwe, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
At the end of the 1990s, Zimbabwe was considered to have one of Africa’s best education systems. Subsequently, the deep economic crisis that the country went through caused the state grants to the school to fall sharply. For more and more Zimbabweans, the struggle for survival made it difficult to let children go to school. Finally, in many places the school system collapsed completely. In 2008, only one in five children in Zimbabwe was expected to receive regular education and in rural areas, most schools were closed. The following year, the country received assistance from the UN Children’s Fund Unicef to pay teacher salaries and the situation improved when the useless domestic currency was abandoned (see Economic overview).
Today, most children attend at least a few years in primary school. Almost half continue to the higher stages. Fewer girls than boys go to school. Many qualified teachers have chosen to leave Zimbabwe. Teacher salaries are low and have at times been completely absent. The school premises are poor, as is the school material.
Higher education was also expanded after independence, as the lack of space was great. There are several state and private universities and colleges. The oldest and largest is the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the government has been gaining stronger control over the universities, which previously had relatively great academic freedom. Students are now an important part of the political opposition and government-critical demonstrations are common. The University of Zimbabwe has been periodically shut down due to protests against increased fees and to President Robert Mugabe.
- Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Zimbabwe, covering middle school, high school and college education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
84.8 percent (2013)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
88.7 percent (2014)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
30.0 percent (2014)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
30.0 percent (2014)
Mugabe is running for 2018 again
Reigning Zanu-PF nominates as expected Robert Mugabe as his candidate in the 2018 presidential election, the year he turns 94.
The debt to the IMF is repaid
Zimbabwe has repaid around US $ 108 million to the IMF, corresponding to the debt to the International Monetary Fund that the country has incurred over the past 15 years. It is seen as the first step in re-entering the international loan market. First, however, Zimbabwe must settle its debts to other financial institutions, including $ 1.1 billion to the World Bank. Without “bold reforms,” the country’s economic problems will persist, the IMF fears. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of about 90 percent and more than 80 percent of the state’s revenue goes towards paying the salaries of civil servants.
Prohibition of protests is approved
A higher court that lifted a demonstration ban in September is now completely reversing and approving the month-long ban on protests in the capital issued by the police in September. The new demonstration ban lasts until mid-October. (4/10)
Protesters are intimidated
A planned attempt by the opposition to conduct a demonstration in Harare ebbs into nothing because of a very large police effort. Opposition spokesmen say police prevented people from getting to the center and threatened to abuse and arrest them if they tried to participate in the demonstration.
All ready for “home-made” dollars
The central bank announces that in October it will start issuing new banknotes printed in the country and formally equivalent to US dollars. Bond notes must be in denominations 2, 5, 10 and 20 dollars. The reason is a lack of real dollars and South African rand that Zimbabwe has used since 2009, when the local currency had lost all value. Critics fear that the central bank should not be able to maintain the value of the home-made banknotes and that this will trigger a new inflation.
New demonstration ban
Harare police “suggest” that all demonstrations in the capital be banned between September 16 and October 15. Lawyers representing the opposition say that this is a further step for the country against a police state and that they intend to do everything to get the ban lifted. Several opposition parties are planning nationwide protests in the next few days to pressure the Election Commission to conduct free and honest elections in 2018. (13/9)
Demonstration ban is abolished
A High Court, the High Court, repeals the demonstration ban imposed by the police. According to the court, the ban is illegal. The opposition paid tribute to the judge for her courage. (7/9)
Protesters are denied bail
A Harare court refuses to grant bail to 58 people arrested during protests against Mugabe a week earlier. Police face a two-week ban on demonstrations in the capital. (2/9)
Mugabe: No Arabic spring here
After a time of extensive demonstrations against his long-standing rule, President Mugabe says that protests similar to those that occurred during the “Arab Spring” have no chance of toppling his government. He says on TV after the riot police once again dispelled protesters in Harare with the help of tear gas and water cannons. The leaders of the 18 opposition parties that gathered for the demonstration say they are planning another protest in a week. (27/8)
Mass protest against Mugabe
Thousands of people are reported to be participating in a demonstration against Mugabe in the town of Gweru, just over 20 miles southwest of Harare. The event is jointly organized by MDC and the newly formed party Zimbabwe’s people first. Party leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru condemn the president for clinging to power at age 92 and call for unity between opposition parties. (13/8)
Four war veterans arrested
Another four leading members of the war veterans’ association are arrested for offending Mugabe. (2/8)
Prosecution for insulting Mugabe
One of the leaders of the War Veterans Association, spokesman Douglas Mahiya, is being sued for insulting the president and undermining his position. The indictment is based on veterans accusing Mugabe of “dictatorial tendencies”. (29/7)
Women’s march against police violence
Hundreds of women march through Bulawayo in a protest against police brutality and the increasingly difficult financial problems. (26/7)
The war veterans condemn Mugabe
The war veterans, who for years have been Mugabe’s main pillar, openly distance themselves from the president and say they do not intend to support him in the next election. In a statement, the War Veterans’ Association says that the leadership of Zanu-PF has totally failed to deal with the country’s financial problems and “has fallen behind dictatorial tendencies, personified by the president and his staff”. Political analysts say this may be the beginning to the end for Mugabe. (21/7)
Pastor urges courage
Evan Mawarire, who in a short time became the leader of the latest wave of protests against the regime, urges residents to “climb over the wall of terror” and speak openly about the crisis in the country. “Our main goal is to wake the residents, move them away from apatin, to be patriotic and feel responsible for the country,” he says. Mawarire has so far avoided directly criticizing Mugabe, but instead appealed to the residents to protest with peaceful means against the soaring unemployment. Around 90 percent of Zimbabwean workers do not have a real job with a fixed salary. (19/7)
Tsvangirai supports the pastor
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai publicly backs Pastor Mawarire and his fight against the regime. (15/7)
Popular pastor free
Evan Mawarire, a pastor who emerged during the year as a unifying force behind the opposition to the regime, is acquitted by a court of charges of “attempting to overthrow the government with methods contrary to the constitution”. Through an internet campaign called ThisFlag, he was one of the driving forces behind the big strike a week earlier. (13/7)
Public servants on strike
The government employees strike in protest against delayed salary payments and the difficult financial situation. Police arrest 94 people in connection with riots in Harare and deploy tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstration trains. (5/7)
Local dollars are wasted
The opposition condemns the government’s plans to introduce a kind of local version of the US dollar with the same nominal value as the US currency used as a means of payment in Zimbabwe since 2009. A large shortage of cash, both the dollar and the South African rand, has forced the central bank, among other things. to limit the right to cash withdrawals. MDC says the printing of the new banknotes will again force the economy to its knees. Economists blame the cash crisis for lack of investment and the large trade deficit.
Protest against Mugabe
More than 2,000 supporters of the MDC train through Harare in what is described as the biggest demonstration in ten years against President Mugabe. The demonstration has at the last moment been cleared by a court and the riot police do not intervene, unlike in a number of previous regime-critical protests. (14/4)
The banks are said to obey orders
According to state media, the Minister for Economic Power Transfer to the Black Zimbabweans, Patrick Zhuwao, said that the foreign banks have obeyed orders and submitted plans for how a majority of the shares should be transferred to domestic interests. MDC comments that it will only worsen the country’s economic situation to put foreign companies under increased pressure. In the past, the IMF has appealed to the government to review its economic policy so as not to frighten investors, (1/4)
Contrary to earlier news that the government wants to mitigate the rules that are intended to force foreign companies to transfer the majority of their shares to domestic interests, the government announces that the companies have until April 1 to comply with the rules. After this date, the authorities will punish foreign companies that do not obey the law by withdrawing their permit to operate in the country (see also December 2015). (23/3)
Malnutrition among children
UN agency Unicef raises alarm that food shortage in Zimbabwe is the worst in 15 years. According to Unicef, 33,000 are severely malnourished and in need of urgent help. (15/3)
White farmers get paid
11th of March
The country’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announces that the government will replace the white landowners who had their property seized during the land reform that was initiated in 2000. The land reform led to at least 4,000 farmers losing their farms. According to Chinamasa, the government has begun to investigate how these properties should be valued. (11/3)
Action for lost
Hundreds of activists, including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, demand at a demonstration in Harare that the government should tell what happened to journalist and human rights activist Itai Dzamara who was robbed on a street in the capital a year ago. Dzamara has not been heard of since then. (9/3)
State grip on diamonds
4th of March
The government is raising increased concern among foreign investors when President Mugabe announces in a television interview that the state will take over all diamond mines in the country. Mugabe argues that the measure aims to prevent foreign companies from exporting diamonds from Zimbabwe without declaring them. (4/3)
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who is on edge with President Mugabe, forms the Party of Zimbabwe’s People First (ZPF). According to Mujuru, the new party will fight to uproot corruption in the country with its roots. The basis for the party was laid in 2015 when Mujuru formulated a manifesto against President Mugabe’s attempt to transfer ownership of foreign companies to domestic interests (see June 2007). With the new party as a platform, Mujuru is expected to stand in the 2018 elections. (1/3)
Hunger and cake party
President Mugabe declares on February 5 parts of the countryside for disaster areas. The prolonged drought has hit the ground and livestock, and a quarter of the population is now estimated to be in need of food assistance. However, the serious situation does not prevent Mugabe from holding a lavish birthday party when he turns 92 on February 21.
Action against child marriage
The Constitutional Court prohibits people under 18 from getting married. The decision is welcomed as a great success by the domestic organizations working on child marriage. (20/1)