By Robert Tapfumaneyi
SIXTY percent of children aged between the ages of three and four are out of school as parents feel they are still too young and need to stay at home, a new study by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstart) strikingly reveals.
The study also shows that Zimbabwe as 1,2 million children in that age category.
This is despite the fact that children in this age group are expected to be attending early childhood education.
A majority (97 percent) of the children of the primary school going age (6-12 years) were in school in 2019.
Among children of lower secondary going age 13-16 years, about 84 percent of them were in school while about 16 percent had already left school.
Just over half of the children in the upper secondary going school age (17 to 18 years) had left school. Between the ages 19 and 24 years, majority had left school with only 11 percent being at school and mostly attending tertiary education.
Of the 5,5 million people aged 25 years and above in 2019, 331 thousand (6 percent) of them had never been to school.
Most of the people who had never been to school were at least fifty-years.
The 2019 Labour Force and Child Labour Survey collected information on the highest level of education attended among the population aged three years and above who at some point in life have attend school.
For the ECD going age group, three to Five years, 93 percent of the children have at one point attended ECD.
For the primary school going age of 6-12 years, 90 percent had attended primary school, while 10 percent had attended ECD.
As for children of lower secondary school going age (13 to 16 years), 61 percent had attended lower secondary, while 38 percent had been to school as far as primary.
Most of the people in the older age group have either attended primary or lower secondary.
The highest proportion of people who had attended master’s degrees was in the 40-to-44-year age group, while persons who attended doctorates degrees were only in the 60-64 year age group.
“Generally, the majority of the population (52,7%) had left school. Looking at the population that had never been to school, the highest proportion was from the poorest households. Analysis of the age group 3-24 years over the last three population censuses shows a steady increase in size. The population was 5 977 559 in 1992, 6 414 619 in 2002, and 6 717 229 in 2012,” Zimstart said.
“This calls for policy planners to put in place more education facilities to cater for the growing population. However, compared to the total population, the proportion of the 3–24-year age group has been on the decrease over the last three censuses.”
The report also states that Zimbabwe has a high literacy level of 97,4%, while men and women had almost the same literacy levels of 97,9% and 96,9% respectively, necessitated by universal access to education implemented by the government since 1980.