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Key findings
  • Two-thirds (66%) of Zimbabweans say the government is doing a poor job of addressing the country’s educational needs.
  • Education ranks fifth among the most important problems that citizens want their government to address.
  • Seven in 10 citizens (69%) say pregnant pupils should be allowed to continue their education.
  • But fully two-thirds (66%) of Zimbabweans disagree with a ban on corporal punishment in schools.
  • Citizens are divided on whether to ban the payment of monetary and non-monetary incentives to teachers for extra lessons (51% for such a ban, 46% against).

Zimbabwe’s Education Amendment Act of 2020 was a major step forward for the country’s education system, at least on paper. Among its many provisions, it made education compulsory and free, outlawed degrading punishment of pupils and the expulsion of pregnant girls, and required schools to accommodate children with disabilities and to provide menstrual wear, water, and sanitation (Fambasayi, 2020; Mavhinga, 2020).

The law fits into a series of measures intended to strengthen the schools, including a national curriculum review process launched in 2014, the introduction of a continuous assessment and learning activity (CALA) component, and the banning of parental incentive payments to teachers (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, 2014, 2018; Share, 2014; Marisa, 2022). In 2020, as schools remained closed for almost half the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced online learning, which many schools continue to use, both in place of and to complement in-person teaching.

Amid these substantial changes, how do Zimbabweans see their evolving education system?

Findings from the most recent Afrobarometer survey show that Zimbabweans are not satisfied with the government’s efforts and rank education among their country’s most important problems. On specific policy questions, a majority say that pupils who become pregnant should be allowed to continue their education and that corporal punishment should not be banned in schools. Views are more divided regarding teacher incentives and CALA projects, while a slim majority voice opposition to online learning programmes.

Stephen Ndoma

Stephen is the assistant project manager for Southern Africa

Simangele Moyo-Nyede

Simangele is a research officer Mass Public Opinion Institute