Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (ZIMFEP)

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Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (ZIMFEP) is an organisation set up by the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1981 following Zimbabwe's independence. The organisation was mandated to carry out educational experiments to infuse the concept of Education with Production (EWP ) into the Zimbabwean school curriculum. The organisation was set up as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) depending on donations for its funding.

According to some reports, it was "meant to build on the new forms of education which had been developed in schools for refugees in Mozambique and Zambia during the struggle"[1] for Zimbabwe's independence.

ZIMFEP was set up as part of Education Minister Dr Dzingai Mutumbuka and the government's drive for education with production.

Background and Early Years

The introduction of EWP started as attempts to solve some of the pressing problems in the refugee schools such as shortages of food, accommodation, clothing, furniture and reading materials (Mtobi, undated). In criticising the colonial education system in Rhodesia, Dzingai Mutumbuka who was to become the first Minister of Education and Culture in the new independent government of Zimbabwe said:

There is little relationship between what is learnt in school and real-life problems. A yawning gap separates theoretical knowledge from its practical application (Zimfep, 1991).[2]

Zimfep was formed in order to experiment with the concept of EWP in eight farm-based pilot schools (and later a vocational college). The schools were located on large-scale farms ranging in size from 788 to 6,000 hectares.

The Schools were:

  • George Silundika in Matebeleland South
  • Fátima in Matabeleland North
  • J.Z. Moyo in Matabeleland North
  • Mavhudzi Secondary School in Nyazura
  • Nkululeko Secondary School and Primary School in the Midlands.[1]
  • Chindunduma Secondary and Pimary School in Mashonaland Central
  • Rusununguko in Mashonaland East
  • Mupfure Techn. & Vocational School in Mashonaland West

The schools were built by the students and some of the furniture in the school was made by students during practicáis and P U activities.

These Zimfep schools initially catered for the educational needs of returning refugee pupils but later provided education to the general population of school children in the hinterlands and from distant parts of the country. At policy level the government of Zimbabwe accepted EWP as the new education system for Zimbabwe but thrust Zimfep into the role of experimenting and perfecting EWP before widespread adoption by the rest of the schools in the country. [2]


Zimfep produced curriculum materials focusing on EWP. The organisation successfully published booklets on Theatre production, Animal Traction in Zimbabwe, Production Units, Cooperatives, Commerce and Government Policy on Education in Zimbabwe which are used by schools in Zimbabwe. In addition, they publish a newspaper "Learn and Work " which covered aspects of EWP theory and activities for dissemination to schools and other interested parties.[2]

Books on ZIMFEP

  • Education with production in Zimbabwe, The Story of ZIMFEP - by Sr Janice McLaughlin


  1. 1.0 1.1 Moto MagazinePage: 10, May 1983. No 12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 B . Mashingaidze Curriculum Relevance:The Case of Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (ZEMFEP), UNESC O Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa, Published: 1997, Accessed: 24 May 2022

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