Structure of the Zimbabwe Education System
Education in Zimbabwe is in two categories - Formal education and Informal education. Education in Zimbabwe was administered by two government ministries; Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
This refers to daytime schooling where students go to school and pass through all the stages in the cycle of education. Education is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organisations and recognised private bodies. Formal education systems are thus recognised as such by Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
This refers to part-time schooling in the evening, day and study groups. Students do academic and professional courses. The defining characteristic of non-formal education is that it is an addition, alternative and /or a complement to formal education within the process of the lifelong learning of individuals. Another important characteristic of non-formal education is that the education provider does not provide extra-curricula activities such as sport, to the learners. Non-formal education has significantly expanded due to dropouts and repeaters who fail to get places at formal institutions.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Zimbabwe is offered to children from the age of 3 to 5 years. ECD is meant to contribute to the nurture of young children at various ways i.e. physical, social, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual. Schools are compelled to attach at least one ECD class of 4 to 5 year olds which would then enrol into grade one.
Primary Education in Zimbabwe
Primary education forms the foundation of education in Zimbabwe. The official primary school age is 6-12 years but under-age and over-age pupils can be found in some primary schools. Primary education is compulsory and is necessary for one to proceed to stages beyond it. The course stretches over seven years and pupils make unimpeded progress up to grade seven. Primary education equips pupils with skills that enable them to meet the challenges of lower secondary education. Grade seven results are used as a selection criterion for admission into lower secondary.
Secondary Education in Zimbabwe
The secondary education cycle consists of two years of junior school, two years of middle school and two years of senior school. The junior secondary school level provides a broad based curriculum as a foundation for channelling learners into the middle secondary school. In the middle secondary school level, students take up subjects of study according to ability and interest. At the end of the second year of this level, students sit for Ordinary Level Examinations. Students who would have excelled in the examinations may opt to enrol for another two years in senior secondary (Advanced Level) in preparation of university or other tertiary education. Those that do not wish to enrol into senior secondary may choose to enrol for tertiary education in institutions such as Teachers’ Colleges, Polytechnic colleges, Agricultural colleges and Vocational and Training colleges.
Tertiary education is offered at institutions of higher learning comprising agricultural colleges, teachers’ colleges, polytechnics and universities.
Agricultural colleges in Zimbabwe offer certificates and diplomas in agriculture. Diplomas are three year programmes and the course, is expected to cover all the facets of agriculture. The colleges are primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
Technical and Vocational Colleges
Technical colleges equip scholars with technical skills which can be applied directly into the local industry. The colleges also offer tuition in other studies such as business studies and social sciences. Industry plays a pivotal role for accomplishment of apprenticeships.
Teachers’ Colleges in Zimbabwe
See List of Teachers' Colleges in Zimbabwe.
Teachers’ colleges offer diploma programmes in education for primary and secondary school teachers. Primary and secondary school teachers are trained at separate institutions. Centres which train primary school and secondary school teachers require at least 5 ‘O’ level passes at grade C or better for admission.
Universities in Zimbabwe
Preference for admission into under-graduate studies is for pupils with satisfactory ‘A’ levels passes. However, there is also a facility for mature entry for people of age twenty-five years and over, with excellent ‘O’ levels and relevant working experience.
Students who excel in their undergraduate studies stand a chance of being admitted into the post-graduate studies upon application. Students who succeed in their master’s degrees can enrol for doctorate degrees.
The government is the primary sponsor of basic education in Zimbabwe. In all state run educational institutions, students pay tuition fees while the duty of building infrastructure and salaries for teaching staff lies with the Government. In cases were educational institutions are owned by local authorities or by mission schools, the Government takes the responsibility of paying salaries for teachers.
Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF)
The Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) is a fund established in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02). It's purpose is to finance the development of critical and highly skilled manpower through a 1% Training Levy paid by registered companies in Zimbabwe.