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Herbert Muchemwa Murerwa

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Minister of Higher Education

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Dr Herbert Murerwa holds a Doctoral degree (Educational Planning) from Harvard University, Massachusetts (USA) which he obtained in 1978. Thereafter he worked as an Economic Affairs Officer at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia until 1980. In 1980 he joined the Zimbabwe Civil Service as Permanent Secretary and served in that capacity in several ministries before being appointed High Commissioner. Since 1990 he has been Member of Parliament and Minister of several Ministries before his appointment as Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education in March 2004.
His vision is to see the Ministry achieving a transformative impact in human resource development, which is relevant to the needs of the economy.

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Aneas Soko Chigwedere

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Minister of Education, Sport and Culture

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In 2001, the Honorable Aneas Soko Chigwedere was appointed as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Education, Sport and Culture. Born in 1939, Minister Chigwedere has been active in the field of education throughout his career. Over the span of three decades starting in 1965, his professional roles extended from Teacher to Headmaster to Regional Director in the Zimbabwean education system. In 1995 he became a member of the Parliament, as the Hwedza District MP. Mr. Chigwedere earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Rhodesia, and a master’s degree from London University. He has published numerous books on history, and is a member of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, the Language Association of Zimbabwe, and the National Association of Secondary School Heads. 

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Quality education for all young people: challenges, trends and priorities

Zimbabwe has gone a long way in meeting the challenge of widening access to tertiary education particularly during the last decade. This has been achieved through various strategies which include forging partnership with private providers, the setting up of specialised institutions and the upgrading of existing colleges. This resulted in the number of universities increasing from 2 in 1993 to 12 by the end of 2003, in addition to 13 teachers colleges and 7 polytechnics. As a result the country has attained a Gross Enrolment Ratio of over 10% in higher education.

However, although this expansion has opened up opportunities for more young people to enter higher and tertiary education, the challenge is to ensure that quality is maintained and gender equity is enhanced. Accordingly priority has shifted to the provision of adequate human and material resources and working to attain gender parity by 2015.

In a bid to enhance the quality of tertiary education, all technical colleges were upgraded into full-fledged polytechnics in 2002. There is also a programme currently underway to upgrade some polytechnics into degree awarding institutions in conjunction with established universities. The setting up of an institute of technology is meant to enhance research and development initiatives and offer quality training to lecturers in technical disciplines. The issue of relevance is being addressed by involving industry in curriculum development and making industrial attachment a component of all programmes in tertiary education.

The participation of females in post secondary education in Zimbabwe is being enhanced by affirmative programmes and current trends show that the country might achieve gender parity in higher education by the year 2015. Such initiatives have seen the proportion of females enrolled in tertiary institutions steadily increase from 30 % in 1997 to 38% at present. However female participation in scientific and technological disciplines still remains below 30%.

Introduction

 

The Education system inherited by the government of Zimbabwe at independence in 1980 was characterised by unfair and unequal distribution of educational resources and facilities between the black majority and the white minority Zimbabweans.

In order to redress the imbalances, Zimbabwe’s post independence government adopted the policy that Education is a basic human right and committed itself to ensuring that there are equal educational opportunities for all races. This principle has guided all policies and strategies for the provision of education in Zimbabwe. The education Act contains the policy guidelines that drive the education system.
The policy guidelines have also been shaped by the Government’s conviction that education is the best form of investment as it is the key to social, scientific and technological development.
The principle of equity and the reduction of the gender gap between male and female are among the major objectives of our Government.

Challenges

In pursuing the policy that education is a basic human right, the Government has faced major challenges. Adequate financial resources are required to provide education facilities particularly in remote and newly resettled areas. The demand for learning and teaching materials rose as the result of massive expansion.
The need for qualified and trained teachers was to be satisfied inorder to promote the quality of education. The early childhood education needs to be completely integrated into the education system.

Trends

The policy that education is basic human right has seen great achievements in the area of quantitative expansion and making education accessible to all children of school going age. The number of early childhood education and care centres has grown from about 1000 in 1980 to about 8000 in 2003 and that of primary schools from 3161 to 4926 in the same period. The net enrolment ratio for primary schools has increased to more than 90% since 2000 with the parity index between boys and girls being greater than 0.9.
The number of trained teachers has increased with only the remote areas relying on untrained teachers. The secondary schools sector has expanded enormously.
Many Secondary schools were established in the rural areas although the net enrolment ratio is still low (40%). The country’s literacy rate has risen to about 90%

Priorities

Zimbabwe’s major education priorities are to increase the number of Early Childhood Education and Care Centres to cater for the children below 6 years as well as to increase access to education to all children particularly to the girls and the disadvantaged. The quality of Education must be improved through the provision of adequate resources especially in disadvantaged areas.
Attention will also be paid to the adult literacy and continuing education. Special attention will continue to be paid to the girl-child in order to achieve gender equality (parity index of 1) by year 2015.