Education in Reconstruction: Zimbabwe

  1. Introduction

1.1. Overview and Background

This report on Zimbabwe’s response to education in reconstruction is one of four other national studies involving Liberia, Kenya, and DRC examining the capacity of role players to be responsive to diverse education needs in managing education recovery in emergency situations.

The study is informed by two broad development frameworks. ADEA’s Holistic Approach to Education which states “that all diverse forms of education are recognised, irrespective of their target audiences, delivery mode, sub-sector in which they are placed …, as being of equal dignity and contributing to the achievement of lifelong education, cross-fertilising one another and deserving to be all valued, supported, articulated and coordinated within the framework of a holistic, integrated and diversified vision of education.” The holistic approach requires a wider expansion of quality education and a broader vision of the diversity of learners’ types. The range of learning opportunities required to meet the needs and respond to the situations of learners in post conflict or emergency situations needs to be reviewed. Ideally, recognition of all non-conventional education modes would help build effective bridges to enable learners, irrespective of their age, to move from one learning type to another or to go back to the formal system after having been displaced or prevented from doing so by conflict or any other cause such as an economic recession.

The second is ADEA’s Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN) policy initiative on Peace Education, which was formed in 2010 as a forum for countries facing education crises in post-conflict circumstances. Its purpose is ''to utilize our education systems as agencies and forces for re-building, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and nation building''. The establishment of an ICQN in Peace Education provides a platform for African Ministers of Education to share lessons learnt across national boundaries to inform future initiatives and strategies to offer a holistic response to education in crisis. This study comes at an opportune moment to ensure that planning for education in crises, broadens ADEA’s goal of achieving creative, African-led responses to tackling the major challenges facing educational development in Africa.

Hyperinflation is not a new phenomenon in Africa with countries with a number of countries having experienced prolonged periods of hyperinflation and recessions. Often these periods are characterized by rapid drop in value of currencies, skills flight and increases in poverty all these culminating in the decline of the quality and capacity of the education sector. The case of Zimbabwe provides an opportunity to draw up policy lessons on mitigating the effects of such an economic meltdown on the education sector and how to manage the revival of the education system in a post emergency situation.

Research indicates that strengthening education management is essential to underpinning education reform. If the system of education planning and management has broken down or is weak, then it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve sustainable improvements in other areas. Capacity building that strengthens planning and governance structures from the earliest phase can accelerate further development in the education sector.

This study seeks to identify conditions facilitating positive education transformation and revival, deriving promising practices in policy, planning, service delivery, resource mobilization and monitoring systems.
The country case studies encompass post-conflict, emergency and reconstruction contexts, with more emphasis on the latter.