The Zimbabwean government is still finalizing the implementation of its free state-funded education policy, according to Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu. President Emmerson Mnangagwa had first promised free education for all in 2018, and in 2020 he signed into law the Education Amendment Act which requires the government to provide free basic education, but it has yet to be implemented.
During a high-level policy dialogue on education funding in Harare, Ndlovu stated that the government is currently focusing on providing education to vulnerable children and is working on a plan to gradually expand access to free education to all, starting with rural schools where poverty is prevalent.
“In 2020 our President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced to the nation the introduction of state funded education which will take various approaches and we are examining those approaches that we need to put the funded education in phases, and we are proposing policy implementation strategies that we need to start probably with rural schools where poverty is then we gradually move to other parts of the country,” said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu also urged parents and education sponsors to assist the government in its efforts, as the population of 6.6 million children is a significant figure to support. She stated, “We expect parents to also pay levies to assist the government because it is difficult for us, the population is big, 6.6 million children you can imagine, it is a big figure for us.”
In addition to seeking support from parents and sponsors, the government also plans to increase the number of teachers in schools by 7000 through the education 2023 budget. This move is expected to improve the quality of education and increase access to education for more students.
The announcement by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education comes as the country continues to grapple with the impact of economic challenges on the education sector. Despite the challenges, the government is committed to implementing the free education policy and ensuring that every child in Zimbabwe has access to quality education.
The matter will be closely watched by the public as the government is under pressure to deliver on its promise of free education for all.