Early Childhood Development in Zimbabwe (ECD)

Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Zimbabwe is offered to children from the age of 3 to 5 years.

Since 2004, Zimbabwe has a national ECD policy which requires primary schools to offer a minimum of two ECD classes for children from 3 to 5 years old. In support of this policy, primary teacher training colleges are now training ECD teachers who receive certified diplomas in ECD from the University of Zimbabwe.

Pre-schools fall under the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. With effect from 2005, all primary schools were compelled to attach at least one ECD class of 4 to 5 year olds which would then enrol into grade one in 2006. In 2006, another ECD class of 3 to 4 year olds would be enrolled meaning full incorporation of two ECD levels in the primary school system.

Introduction of ECD in Zimbabwe

In 2004 the provision of two years of pre-primary education in Zimbabwe (named ECD A and B) was instituted as a policy directed at all primary schools in order to insert at least two ECD classes for children in the 3-5 years age group. The basis for the formulation of the 2004 policy was a recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry into Education undertaken in 1999. The Commission found that many children in rural and poor communities did not have access to Early Childhood services. The aim of the 2004 policy framework is to make official the ECD programme under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. The Ministry wanted to increase equity and access to ECD provisions, and enhance quality education.


The National Early Childhood Development (NECD) programme was targeted mainly at to pre-school children in rural areas who had before then, not had convinient access to early childhood level education.