24 October 2014
   
New Zimbabwe Header
7,000 to attend MDC-T congress, Chamisa
Mujuru 'formed' Marange owner ACR
Zanu PF headed for devastating split
Resign or else, Grace tells VP Mujuru
Youth development fund looted: Nhema
Binga man axes 'witch' uncle, hangs self
Get rid of ‘ghost workers’, says IMF
Zim misses out as SADC booms
MORE NEWS
Restore confidence, IMF tells govt
Econet H1 profits down 30pc to US$50m
MORE BUSINESS
Fast and Furious star slams gay claims
TKay Maidza blows hot in Australia
MORE SHOWBIZ
Warriors tumble in Fifa rankings
Quincy Antipas a hit in Denmark
MORE SPORTS
Makanaka: Mazara ignorance and an apology
Ebola scourge: Wake up call for Africa
MORE OPINION
 
Libya: The tragedy of western intervention
Ministers: Technical competence or political value
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
300,000 children dropping out of school, Nhema
22/06/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
School drop-out numbers ghastly to contemplate ... Francis Nhema
 
RELATED STORIES
MPs gang up on education minister
Teachers’ holiday pay not scrapped, unions
Shock images of neglected Bubi school
Literacy: Zimbabwe still leads Africa
Irate teachers demand Mugabe meeting
Form One entrance tests banned
UK provides $10m fees for 250,000 pupils
Abandoned Zim students bunk in Russian rail stations
Mugabe asks UK for school fees help
Zinasu blasts govt’s education neglect
1 mln at risk as govt fee scheme fails

UP TO 300,000 children are being forced to drop out of school every year, a government minister said Saturday, admitting the numbers were “too ghastly to contemplate”.

Zimbabwe was again confirmed to have the highest literacy rate in Africa but figures revealed by Youth and Empowerment minister Francis Nhema at the weekend suggest a new crisis has hit the country’s education sector.

Speaking Saturday at the opening of the 22nd Session of the Children’s Parliament and commemorations of the Day of the African Child in Harare Nhema told President Robert Mugabe, who also attended the event, that “socio-economic circumstances” had increased the drop-out rate in schools.

“The reality we face at the end of each academic year is that not all of our children and young people will pass their Ordinary Level examination,” said the minister, according to the Sunday Mail.

“(This is) not only from failing examinations but also many are dropping out of school due to socio-economic circumstances.

“The total of those failing examinations added to those dropping out due to these circumstances is in the range of between 250,000 to 300,000.

“This number, Your Excellency, over a five year period, translates to between a million to a million-and-a-half. It is too ghastly to contemplate.”

A respected continental magazine this month confirmed that Zimbabwe still leads the continent with a literacy rate of 90.7 percent followed by Equatorial Guinea at 87 percent and South Africa with 86 percent.

Even critics credit Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate after he declared education a basic human right following independence in 1980 and invested heavily in expanding education access to the previously marginalised black majority.

But the decade-long political and economic crisis which peaked in 2008 saw the country suffer huge reverses in education and other social sectors.

Teachers fled to neighbouring countries to seek better pay while those who remained engaged in endless strikes. Children from poor families, unable to pay fees, were also forced to drop out of school.

According to UNICEF, school attendances plummeted from about 80 percent to around 20 percent.

Schools infrastructure went into disrepair due to neglect while children were left without books and other key learning materials.



Advertisement

The decline was only stemmed with the adoption of the US dollar in 2009 and the involvement of donors who set up the Educational Transition Fund (ETF) to help address the lack of books and other learning resources.


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark
 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker