Zimbabwe schools try to stay ahead

Literacy rates are among the highest in the world but schools struggle to survive.

    Before independence only 12 per cent of black people were allowed to complete their education

    The number of primary schools rose from 3,000 in 1980 to 5,000 today.
    Colonial imbalance
    All this was an attempt to address colonial imbalance whereby back then only 12 per cent of the country's black people were allowed to complete their education.
    Authorities say they had a mission and that they are slowly achieving it.

    Aneas Chigwedere, the minister of education, sport and culture, says: "We have reached a stage to the extent we are developed."
    But Zimbabwe's economic challenges have taken their toll on the education system and some schools struggle to stay afloat with very limited resources.
    The students at the school I visited in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, come from poor families.
    Their parents can barely manage to pay tuition fees. They did not have gas to carry out a science experiment when we visited.
    Teachers frustrated
    Teachers are frustrated and tired. They were given a 50 per cent pay increase last week but they say it is still not enough.
    Raymond Majongwe, the head of the Progressive Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), says: "The hunter is being told to hunt without any resources, then you blame him for failing to deliver."
    Despite the hardships classes continue as usual: schools are mushrooming everywhere.

    But the economy has to be able to sustain the growth; with inflation soaring at 1,600 per cent, the children I visited may never get the chance to go beyond the basics.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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