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1.6.3 Policy, management and funding

The major newspapers and television stations are partly government owned. Top management of these media is appointed by government on the advice of their respective management boards. Official policy requires that these media be used for educational purposes in addition to entertaining their audiences. However, independent newspapers flourish in Zimbabwe.

Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications is the government department with overall responsibility for overseeing the work and operations of both print and electronic media in Zimbabwe. The Ministry is itself the major educator of the public on national issues, ranging from education to entertainment and information. Several other ministries and departments such as the two Ministries of Education, Ministries of Lands and Agriculture, Home Affairs, Mines Environment and Tourism, Health and Child Welfare, Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, to mention but a few, are some of the big users of both electronic and print media for their educational programmes. Government departments use voted funds to fund their programmes whilst programmes of a private origin are privately funded.

  1. Quality, effectiveness and outcomes of these programmes

There is no doubt that educational programmes carried by the print and electronic media are both popular and educational. Unfortunately due to time constraints it was not possible to involve the persons and institutions involved in the print and electronic media for this assessment. What is clear, however, is that these programmes have had effects on behaviour patterns of the target groups as evidence by feedback (responses and demand from media listeners, viewers and readers) to newspapers and television through the letters that get reported on. Health practices, child care, family planning, etc., are common practices in Zimbabwe today. HIV/AIDS is the topical issue today even if behaviour patterns of the population are reported to be changing only too little from the old ones, which brought about the pandemic in the first place.

2. DECISION MAKING ON THE EFA STRATEGY AND/OR PLAN OF ACTION

The main features of EFA Strategy and Plan of Action to achieve the EFA goals and targets have been described in Section I above. What follows relates to the coordination and decision-making on the strategies for achieving those goals and targets.

2.1 Co-ordination of EFA Strategy and plan of action

In 1990 the primary responsibility for co-ordinating all EFA national initiatives, activities and programmes, was assigned to the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture. The Ministry then tasked its Division of Adult Literacy and Mass Education Division to spearheaded the formation of a National Task Force for Education for All to co-ordinate all EFA activities in Zimbabwe. The National Task Force for Education for All was soon renamed the National Advisory Committee on Basic Education for All (NACBEFA). The NACBEFA was composed of several government ministries, local and international donor agencies, local authorities and the Women's League of the ruling ZANU (PF) Party. Duties assigned to the NACBEFA were

  1. identifying areas of duplication and overlap at all levels in the implementation of EFA;
  2. devising the best ways of providing basic education and improving its quality; and
  3. identifying the most vulnerable sections of society and estimating the size of the marginalised groups (rural women, girls, street kids, the disabled, etc.) who were to be given priority in the provision of basic education for all.

A ‘National Conference to Promote EFA’ was held at Great Zimbabwe, Masvingo in June 1991 for the purpose of disseminating the goals of EFA among the concerned professionals and interested groups and to translate the ideas that emerged from Jomtien into programmes of action in Zimbabwe. Six (6) government ministries attended the Conference, a number of local and international donor agencies, representatives of local authorities and the ZANU (PF) Party

After this meeting the Ministry of Education appointed an inter-departmental task force to work with another government appointed inter-ministerial task force to produce Zimbabwe’s National Plan of Action for Children. This task was completed at the end of 1993 and led to the launch of the NPA in Dakar, Senegal early in 1994. The NPA document contains the Education Sector Strategy among other sector strategies.

2.2 Decision on and reviews of the plan and/or strategy

From its adoption in 1994 the NPA became the reference point for all EFA initiatives. Since then Zimbabwe has continuously reformulated and reviewed its EFA strategies taking into cognisance the socio-economic and political context obtaining in the country and the region. Major reviews and revisions of EFA strategies and targets were made necessary by the following developments and shifts in the socio-political and socio-economic environment in the 1990s:

  1. shifts from the regulated and tightly controlled socialist economic and political thrust of the 1980s to the deregulated and liberalised Economic Structural Adjustment Programme - ESAP (1991 - 1995) and its continuation in a modified form as the Zimbabwe Economic and Social Transformation Programme - ZIMPREST (1996 - 2000), resulting in :
  1. moves away from the notions of free tuition to cost-recovery and cost sharing with
  2. parents and other partners in the provision of education and training;

  3. reduction in government expenditure on the social service sectors like Education and Health as a mesure designed to reduce the budget deficit;
  1. introduction of safety nets and other forms of targeted public assistance in the face of increasing poverty and unemployment in the populace;
  1. external factors such as negative effects of the worst drought in history which affected the country in 1992, resulting in a staggering 10 percent decline in GDP and decline in government revenue base. This was followed by another severe drought in 1994;
  1. ever rising crescendo in calls for curriculum relevance which culminated in the appointment of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training. This report is expected to shed more light onto the impact of EFA strategies and plan of action, among other things.

Thus EFA objectives, targets and strategies were formulated and developed within a policy framework that was undergoing fundamental changes. These changes generated the need and impetus for continual reformulation, review and refinement of the EFA strategies and plan of action which were already in place. Faced by these challenges Government itself (through the Ministries of Education), the Jomtien partners, other UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners, the teaching profession, NGOs, church groups, community groups, etc. became very mindful of the urgent need to sustain, consolidate and improve on the impressive gains the country had made in education before ESAP was adopted. The vehicle used for strategy formulation and review was mainly wide consultations, inspection reports, studies and surveys, establishment of working groups and task forces on policy initiatives and development before implementation. Features of the EFA strategies will be identified later in this section. Suffice to indicate here that the process of decision making on EFA strategies contained in the EFA plan of action and their review were joint efforts of all partners and stakeholders.

2.3 Monitoring of progress of EFA strategies and/or plan of action

Right from the beginning, the monitoring of progress of the EFA strategies and implementation of the plan of action also became the collective responsibility of all stakeholders - government, the private sector, church groups and other organisations in civil society as well as the bilateral and multilateral cooperating partners.

. The Government of Zimbabwe has played a key role in monitoring and reviewing progress through the Standards Control Unit (the inspectorate), the Research and Evaluation Unit and the Schools Psychological Services (SPS) of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture and the Division of Research and Planning in the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology. The SPS monitored programmes designed for children with special needs. The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture also coordinated the evaluation of activities carried out by NGOs in the EFA strategies and plan of action. An example here is the Jairos Jiri Association that provides both basic education and basic skills training to empower the disabled child. The Jomtien partners such as UNESCO and UNICEF have assisted Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Education, Sport & Culture to conduct surveys to monitor the achievement of quality education.

EFA has been discussed at the highest levels of the Ministry since 1990. Several scientific surveys have also been conducted during this period in all regions to assess the level of provisions in terms of physical infrastructure, the supply of teaching/learning materials, and the performance and internal efficiency of the system. Strengths and deficiencies have been identified and the Ministry continues to seek the most cost effective ways to strengthen the system and to rectify the deficiencies.

One of the mechanisms government has used to monitor the performance of basic education (primary schooling) has been the Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) . SACMEQ grew out of small beginnings in Zimbabwe. In 1991, the Ministry of Education and Culture (as it was then called), in conjunction with the International Institute for Educational Planning IIEP), embarked on a project to build capacity within the ministry for the purpose of monitoring the quality of education being offered in Zimbabwean primary schools and classrooms. The project involved collecting data and generating indicators of the quality of education in terms of the various inputs into the education system and pupil achievement. A test of reading achievement was administered to grade six pupils. It was then possible to correlate the various inputs with pupils’ achievements and literacy levels as a way of determining which inputs were most promising in improving pupil achievement. A unique feature of the project was the involvement of education planners from neighbouring countries in the data analysis and report writing.

The successful completion of the Zimbabwean project generated great interest in the Ministries of Education in the Southern Africa sub-region. In 1995 these countries decided to the form the Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ), to work cooperatively on similar surveys in their respective countries. In the same year the SACMEQ countries embarked on a similar study in 1995, in collaboration with the IIEP in order to build institutional capacity in the area of co-operative cross-national policy research that was aimed at improving the quality of education. For Zimbabwe, this study was crucial in the sense that it enabled the country to compare the findings of 1995 with those of the 1991 study to determine the direction in which the quality of education was evolving with a view of putting in place the necessary intervention strategies. The result of the survey showed that Zimbabwe had made only small qualitative gains in the improvement of the primary school teaching and learning environment and in pupil achievement in reading. However, the survey made very useful suggestions for improvement which the Ministry has adopted and is implementing.

SACMEQ’s activities have been and are continuing. A cross-national study similar to the one done in 1995 was begun in 1998 and will be completed in the year 2000,. The value of this study to Zimbabwe will then be fully realised, having tracked the evolution of trends of quality education at the beginning, midway and at the end of the decade.

2.4 Basic learning needs identified in EFA plan of action

Overall, the EFA strategies and plan of action were built upon identified basic learning needs for the target groups. In general the basic learning needs for learners were identified as acquisition of communication skills (language skills and/or literacy), number concept or mathematics and numeracy, appreciation of social and natural phenomenon (social studies and natural sciences), acquisition of creative and other manipulative skills such as arts and crafts, technical skills, etc. It is around these broad skills areas that the basic learning needs were identified and developed in the EFA plan of action for both formal and non-formal educational programmes.

Broad-based educational programmes were also introduced into the formal school curriculum with the intention to reach the school children, the youths and adults. In this respect the basic learning needs were identified Human Rights Education, HIV/AIDS Education and Population Education, which have been explained elsewhere above. Human Rights Education seeks to train the learners in skills required for promoting the respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, and the values of tolerance. Population Education trains learners, among others, about population issues, production and conservation of the natural environment, human sexuality and reproductive health, child health, etc. HIV/AIDS Education seeks to educate school children and the youths about their reproductive health and protection against HIV infection and AIDS and care for the AIDS victims, among other things. The outcome of the HIV/AIDS education programme, it is hoped, will be the strengthening of national efforts to address more effectively the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Government and the NGOs, such as the Adult Literacy Organisation of Zimbabwe (ALOZ), also identified literacy and acquisition of life skills as constituting the learning needs for the adult and non formal learners. The adult education programme has been built around those perceived needs. The Curriculum Development Unit in the Ministry of Education, Sport & Culture has developed the school curriculum for basic education in consultation with all stakeholders so as to meet the basic learning needs just described above.

The skills training needs and programmes for youths and adults in vocational training centres (VTCs) are identified by both the trainees and the community after which the required training programme is designed around those needs. This makes the skills training VTCs consumer articulated and driven.

2.5 EFA target groups

The target groups identified in the EFA strategies evolved and took shape during the EFA decade (1990-2000). In 1991 the Ministry identified the most vulnerable sections of society and the marginalised groups as rural women, girls, abandoned children, street kids, the disabled, refugee children, child orphans, AIDS child victims, children of the poor, the disadvantaged populations and groups living in the remote rural areas and in the large-scale commercial farming areas, etc.) as those who were to be given equal opportunity to participate in education, health and other social programmes. Efforts were made to estimate the size of these groups in the drafting of the EFA strategy. For early childhood education and care developmental activities the target groups were identified as all children aged 0 to 6 year. Children in the 6 to 12 year age group were to continue to be the primary target of EFA strategies in pursuit of the goal of universal access and improvement of learning achievement strategies. However both slightly under-aged and over-aged children were also accommodated. The out-of-school youth and adults (15 years plus) in the informal sector were the targets for the skills training programmes offered by the vocational training centres (VTCs).

Pre-school, adult literacy and primary school facilities to enable all the vulnerable groups in society to have access to basic education. This strategy was a continuation of the expansion process launched through the government policies adopted in the 1980s soon after independence. Through out 1990s, the expansion in the provision of facilities was in favour of the disadvantaged groups in remote areas and large-scale commercial farming areas. The private sector, NGOs and cooperating partners assisted communities in rural areas to construct pre-school and primary school facilities in pursuit of goal of education for all. However, the education of children with disabilities received even greater attention than before during the EFA decade. In keeping with the Jomtien principles deliberate thrust of the 1990s was to improve the quality of basic education all children received.

2.6 Initiatives for the Implementation of the EFA programmes

2.5.1. Policy and strategy initiatives

After signing the Jomtien declaration of 1990, Zimbabwe, in collaboration with co-operating partners, undertook certain principal initiatives that were to address some of the Jomtien provisions, in keeping with the avowed goal of providing education for all.

2.5.2 Education Development Indicators (EDI) and the National Educational Statistics Information System (NESIS).

The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture has also been involved in a UNESCO project, Education Development Indicators (EDI). The project began in the early 1990’s and operates within the framework of ‘Strengthening the National Education Statistics Information System’ (NESIS). This grew out of the realisation that informed policy formation thrives on, and is informed by, the availability of accurate, reliable and timeous data. Such data would then be processed using computer-based technology to generate those indicators that policy makers would require for monitoring the performance of the education system.

Among its key aims, the project also tries to develop application Programmes that are compatible with the Ministry’s information requirements. Among the modules developed are those on school identification, enrolments, buildings, teachers, and revenue, school sessions, repeaters, new admissions, population and Early Childhood Education and Care. To a large extent, therefore, the project addresses the Ministry’s data requirements for the purpose of monitoring Education For All (EFA) targets.

2.5.3 Education Management Information System (EMIS)

Arising out of the EDI and NESIS projects the two Ministries of Education decided to implement Education Management Information System (EMIS) of their own, with the support of cooperating partners and donors. This involved the purchase of hardware and software for their Head Offices, regional offices, some districts and teachers’ colleges. The offices will be linked to each other through the Internet.

The major aim of the project is to improve the processing of educational statistics as well as financial and personnel transactions of the two ministries. The project will also replace the old systems in preparation for the year 2000. The EMIS project is now 85 percent complete after facing a series of delays. The hardware and the statistical module is in place. Local area networks were installed at head offices and regional offices. The educational statistical module is in operation at head offices and regional offices. This module will be installed at district offices very soon. Preparations for the wide area network are at an advanced stage.

The Ministry of Finance will supply the finance module. The local area network wiring is complete and the training of users is in progress. The hardware is expected soon. The Public Service Commission will supply the personnel module. Little progress has been achieved in this area.

The EMIS project will go a long way in the providing online data which will be readily available for users. The availability of online data will make the process of monitoring the quality of education programmes much easier. The finance module will enhance the monitoring and spot checks of financial transactions.

2.5.4 Managerial skills programme

The government of Zimbabwe has embarked on various programmes to improve the quality of education and the delivery of educational services. Various stakeholders, especially NGOs, bilateral and multilateral partners, UN agencies and the private sector, have supported government efforts financially and through technical expertise. The programmes are targeted at heads of schools and lower managerial levels.

The Management Skills Training programme is targeted at primary school heads. The general goals are:

The above programme is also in tandem with other capacity building programmes such as the ECEC, Gender, AIDS, Better Environmental Science Teaching (BEST) and Better Schools Programme (BSPZ). The synergy created here has fostered a holistic approach in school management and administration.

3. EFA DECISION MAKING AND MANAGEMENT

The decision making process on EFA is characterised by wide and broad based consultations with all the stakeholders. The stakeholders are members of the EFA decision –making and consultation machinery. The consultative process is broad based. It includes various stakeholders, interest groups and individuals. Among the stakeholders are the following:

The ministries of education routinely holds regular meetings with all the above various stakeholders whose responsibilities are to advise government on the best and most cost-effective strategies for implementing the Education Sector Strategy for achieving the EFA goals and targets. Government expects these stakeholders to:

More frequently the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture holds EFA consultation meetings with its organs at both the central and the decentralised levels. These meetings seek to harmonise policies, objectives and strategies for EFA and the whole school system.

At Head Office meetings of Heads of Divisions (HODS) are held weekly for strategic planning and policy formulation and harmonisation. Harmonisation of departmental activities for EFA is made at these HODS meetings through the various reports each division and its units present.

Responsibilities for EFA programmes are clearly delineated by function within the Ministries of Education. The two Ministries of Education are responsible for the provision of education for all to the Zimbabwean population. They are also responsible for the formulation, management and implementation of educational policy. The stakeholders operate in conjunction with them, within the provisions of the laws of the state. The ministries are divided into various departments, divisions, units or sections which are responsible for the formulation, interpretation and implementation of the national curricula and the EFA programme. In the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture the following sections, units and structures have functions with an immediate bearing on the implementation of the Education Sector Strategic Plan for EFA:

This section is responsible for the construction of schools, school mapping, registration of schools, implementation of donor programmes, surveys and research, etc.

This division is responsible for the management and implementation of several EFA programmes and projects. The division supervises the teaching and learning that goes on in schools, whether in formal or non-formal settings; it oversees the development of teacher management services, the implementation of school improvement programmes organised under the Better Schools Programme of Zimbabwe (BSPZ) and improved primary school science teaching of the Better Environmental and Science Teaching project (BEST), and several others.

The department is responsible for the development of sporting activities in the schools and monitors the operations of sporting associations in the country.

This departments is responsible for library documentation, cultural activities of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, oversees and organises important national cultural activities and events involving schools (pupils and teachers).

Regular meetings (the Regional Liaison Meetings) with the leadership of the decentralised structure (the Regional Directors) are also held at least once a term to report on progress in policy implementation and strategies. Major issues arising out of the implementation of EFA strategies are discussed and decisions made at these high level fora.

The structures of the school development associations (SDAs) and school development committees (SDCs) and their community leaders hold regular meetings for the management, planning, and financing of school development projects at their level on a self-help basis.

Responsible authorities have the responsibility to establish and run schools, colleges and universities, after registering the institutions with the relevant ministries. These authorities are also responsible for the construction of physical facilities at such institutions. Government pays all the teachers within the authorised establishment at every one of the schools and the per capita grants for all children enrolled in a registered school. Responsible authorities also hold regular meetings with the national and regional leadership to discuss matters affecting their work in EFA.

Government has overall responsibility for the choice, design and implementation of EFA curricula in the two ministries. However, the choice and development of school syllabuses is characterised by wide and broad based consultations with all stakeholders.

4 CO-OPERATION IN EFA

In Zimbabwe provision of education is primarily the responsibility of central government which is assisted by various responsible authorities such as local authorities, churches or religious organisation, individuals, commercial and industrial concerns. Government owns only 6 percent of the primary schools while the rest of the schools are owned and run by other responsible authorities. This success in providing access to education would not have been possible without the participation of other stakeholders and interested parties mentioned above.

4.1 Government

The Government of Zimbabwe shoulders the greater responsibility for the financing of education. The following are the main items of expenditure by government on education:

payment of salaries, housing, transport allowances and other benefits to teachers, most of whom are civil servants in Zimbabwe. (The remuneration of teachers constitutes the largest part of government expenditure on basic education.)

The source of government funding for schools is public tax revenues.

4.2 Local authorities and other responsible authorities

Under the law (the Education Act, 1987) schools in Zimbabwe are established and owned by several responsible authorities, including government itself. The bulk of primary schools in Zimbabwe are owned and run by local authorities. These include urban and municipal councils and rural district councils. Other responsible authorities such as church organisations, foundations and management boards or trusts, commercial farmers, individuals and companies and some government departments such as the police, the prison services and the army also run schools.

Local authorities have the following responsibility for their schools:

The main sources of income for local authorities are the levies collected from the local communities for the purposes of providing the necessary services, which include education and health facilities.

Zimbabwe has recently adopted the policy of decentralisation as a new strategy for the provision and development of education. Powers over schools and responsibilities for the development of education are being devolved to the local and other responsible authorities.

  1. Donors and NGOs

Government coordinates all international support for education, based on respect for Zimbabwe’s national sovereignty and human dignity and for the advancement and protection of the most vulnerable groups in society, such as women and children, the disabled, the marginalised, etc. The role of international aid agencies in education has been very impressive over the years, especially in the financing of the education of the traditionally disadvantaged groups in society, which has always been a joint effort between the Government and various donor agencies

In particular, the EFA decade (1990 – 2000) has seen very close cooperation between the government and its cooperating partners, which include bilateral donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and UN agencies in the implementation of EFA activities. Bilateral and multilateral donors have facilitated the implementation of EFA through financial and technical assistance. Of great significance have been their contributions towards:

Bilateral and multilateral donor agencies have supported the implementation of EFA programme by financing capital projects such as the construction of classrooms libraries, administration blocks, teachers’ houses, and toilets. They have also provided financial assistance to children in difficult circumstances. NGOs have worked with the local communities for the development of schools and their amenities in the disadvantaged rural areas of the country, such as the Zambezi Valley and other remote and marginalised areas.

Regional bodies such as Southern African Development Committee (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have also created an opportunity for sharing experiences and resources in the development of EFA.

4.4 Parents and the Community

The role of the local communities and parents in sustaining EFA cannot be overestimated. The social demand for education in the1980s which gave Zimbabwe the impetus to provide a learning place for every child was only satisfied because of community contribution to the school construction. Parents were eager to contribute towards the education of their children. At the end of the day, the success of the EFA programme is dependent on the parents and the community. It is not enough to provide only physical facilities, teachers, teaching and learning materials. The parents in Zimbabwe have contributed towards the realization of the goals of EFA not only through providing labour and time in the construction of schools to create a conducive physical learning environment in which teaching and learning take place, but most important through the nurturing of a positive learning environment in which education is valued. The children must attend school. The parents and members of the community must pay levies and building funds, pay school fees (only for children in urban areas), provide their children with textbooks and stationery, and ensure their children have the required school uniforms and provide bus fares (mainly in urban areas) and lunches and other nutritional support to sustain the children at school.

5 INVESTMENT IN EFA SINCE 1990

Since 1990 foreign assistance has been targeted towards basic education but there has been a general reduction by reason of spiraling inflation at local level and possible donor fatigue. School construction has almost reached optimum level throughout the country. There is still need to build schools in remote, resettlement and commercial farming areas. Government has also made some investment in nation wide literacy campaigns. The private sector has also contributed to the literacy campaigns through the establishment of literacy classes for their workers within their premises. The government of Zimbabwe has also established a scheme to provide textbooks and furniture to disadvantaged schools in rural areas. Bilateral partners and NGOs also support this programme. Various embassies have also provided textbooks and learning materials to selected schools in the rural areas.

5.1 Financing Education

Recurrent expenditure has increased in real terms by reason of the increased number of trained teachers who have since joined the service. Recurrent expenditure increased by a whooping 73 percent (73,11%) between fiscal year 1994/95 to fiscal year 1997/98. The largest share of this increase went into teachers’ salaries, which accounted for 94.65 percent of the total 1996/1997 budget allocation for primary education. This left only 5.35 percent for financing the other educational services such as alternative methods of instruction and other teacher-support systems. A vicious cycle then develops where as teacher competence improves through the attainment of improved academic and professional qualifications, funds available for the provision of support systems diminish. Education’s share of the national budget then must also increase. With weak support services teacher-centred curriculum becomes the commonest form of teaching in the country’s schools. Initiatives and strategies adopted by government for improving the quality and relevance of educational experience through the provision of adequate learning/teaching materials and equipment, libraries, improved curricula, etc. are impeded.

Table 3 Primary Education budget allocations 1996/97

Main subheadings

Percentage

  1. Salaries

94.65

  • Transport & Subsistence

0.07

  • School services

2.32

  • Grants, furniture & Equipment

2.96

Total

100.00

Expenditure on education has not kept pace with the growth of the system. In real terms expenditure per pupil has declined to about 66 percent the level that prevailed in 1990. Education accounts for 26 percent of public spending or nearly 10 percent of GDP.

5.2 Decentralisation

Objectives

The government of Zimbabwe has adopted the policy of decentralisation as a means for:

The decentralisation process has been carried out through existing local authority structures such as rural district councils (RDCs), urban councils, religious organisations and all other interest groups. The legal framework has been cast mainly in the provisions of various items of legislation such as the Rural District Councils Act, Urban Councils Act and the Prime Ministers Directive of 1984. The Education Act and the Health Act, Land Act and other items of legislation need to be amended to accommodate the decentralisation process.

Possible Gains

As a result of the decentralisation process the Ministry of Education has devolved certain functions to the Regions, Districts and Schools e.g. promotion of certain grades of employees is now done at Regional level. Recruitment of teachers is now the responsibility of heads of schools. Certain functions have been subcontracted to SDC/SDAs. The creation of the New District Education Officer (DEO) post is an act of empowerment and capacity building at regional district levels. Colleges recruit their own staff; VTC’s are under local authorities, management boards

5.3 Establishment of School Development Committees and Associations (SDCs and SDAs)

The 1987 Education Act and the 1991 Education Amendment Act triggered a number of Statutory Instruments that institutionalised and gave operational guidelines to decentralised legal bodies that would look into the development issues of the school at the local level. Section 8 of Part II of the 1987 Education Act states that:

For the purpose of ensuring a fair and equitable provision of primary education throughout Zimbabwe, every local authority shall endeavour to establish and maintain such primary schools as may be necessary for all children in the area under its jurisdiction.

The 1991 Education Amendment Act Section 29A subsection (1) states that:

The responsible authority of every registered school to which a grant is made in terms of section twenty-nine shall establish a committee, to be known as a school development committee (SDC).

Sub-section (2) of the same Amendment Act states that:

A school development committee, if approved by the Minister, shall be vested with control of the financial affairs of the school for which it has been established.

It is the 1991 Education Amendment Act, which led to the establishment of School Development Committees (SDCs) and Schools Development Associations (SDAs) for government schools. The operational guidelines for SDAs and SDCs are detailed in statutory instrument 87 of 1992 and 70 0f 1993 respectively.

Among other things, the main objective of the SDCs and SDAs is to promote, improve and encourage the development and maintenance of the school. These are corporate bodies, which ensure that the people participate in the development of education at the local level.

The visits made to the schools throughout the country during various studies and surveys have revealed that this is a very efficient and effective form of decentralisation. Some of the SDCs and SDAs have developed their schools to levels that central Government alone would not have managed. This has led to effective cost sharing and sustainable development. The constraints that have been faced by these bodies will be discussed later in this paper.

Government has been continually seeking ways of reducing the budget deficit and achieving financial sustainability. In 1998, all Government run schools were allowed to retain their school fees. This change reduced financial administrative procedures and facilitated better financial and management and budgeting by schools, as they would have instant cash at their disposal.

Since the schools were paying different fees according to location, in the interest of equity, government came up with an equalising grant for the schools whose revenue base was weaker.

The Government is decentralising its control and running of schools to the communities and is implementing plans to hand over the control and running of all government schools to local authorities by January 2000.

5.4 Move towards the sector wide approach to financing education

An analysis of the planning and execution of external assistance reflects that most activities in the education sector are project based. Projects seem to be instruments for mobilising resources from funding agencies rather than part of a strategic development plan of the sector. As a result donor preferences and methodologies dominate the selection and design of projects. This platform results in poor strategic coherence as projects have 'flags' of funding agencies and are not seen as government programmes.

This system has the weakness that sectors do a weak analysis of needs, which have to fit the funding agency area of priority. The results have been an obscure strategic relationship between the project and appropriation priorities of the sector. Moreover the reimbursement method exacerbates the management of the budget deficit and increases domestic borrowing in order to provide funds up front to meet expenditure in advance.

Concern for an alternative system to support sectoral priorities and enhance the quality of education and training as per sector's priorities is apparent from the above. The government is now working towards financing education using the sector wide approach method.

The most notable constraint, is finance, that manifests itself through lack of learning and teaching materials, specialised teachers, poorly equipped laboratories and workshops, furniture, libraries, and lack of modern equipment and materials for use in the education and training system. This problem has been exacerbated by continuous falls in value of budget allocations for education and training. The allocations may have been increasing nominally over the years but the real value has fallen by over 40% the 1990 value. Explanations for this scenario could be the continuous depreciation of the local currency, chronic droughts, high population growth not matched with economic growth, the introduction of ESAP/ZIMPREST etc.

In Zimbabwe there has been a steady increase in the budget allocation for education. The education sector has always received the highest budget allocation in comparison with other sectors. Since independence there has been an unprecedented expansion in the number of schools. There has also been great support from the public and private sectors that have shown a positive attitude towards the implementation of EFA through financial and material support.



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