Zimbabwe Education Cluster: Humanitarian Response & COVID-19 Sitrep #6, 25 June 2020


Key figures

  • 853,032 learners (ECD to Grade 7, ages 3 to 12) targeted under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) through Education in Emergency support across 33 districts with severe needs.

  • 3.5 Million learners are currently affected and targeted under the COVID-19 pandemic. The cluster is targeting to reach them with various activities to address their needs.

  • 63,325 people have been reached with HRP related activities with 243,670 people being reached with COVID-19 related activities as of May 2020.

  • The cluster is appealing for US $41 Million through the Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 and US $11.5 Million through the newly launched COVID-19 Addendum.

  • 20 operational partners within the cluster with activities planned, ongoing or completed.

Humanitarian needs

  • The education system in Zimbabwe was already stretched before the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of multiple crises, including the impact of Cyclone Idai last year, the economic crisis coupled with hyperinflation and the ongoing drought. Before the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, estimates by the Education Cluster were that of the more than 3.4 million children of school going age (3 to 12 years), at least 1.2 million (35 per cent), would need emergency and specialized education services in 2020. This includes more than 853,000 children in acute need, such as: children not enrolled in school; orphans and other vulnerable children (OCV), including children with disabilities and children living with HIV; and those in need of school feeding.

  • The combined effect of the humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have far-reaching implications for the demand and supply of education services. While Zimbabwe closed schools on March 24, 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect school populations, school closures have disrupted the education of more than 4.6 million children, with adverse impacts on the protection and wellbeing of children as well as their readiness for school, attendance and participation in learning. Prolonged school closures are likely to have a major and negative affect on children’s learning, physical, social and mental health and well-being threatening hard-won educational achievements for years to come. Prolonged school closures will likely exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities among children, especially girls, children with disabilities, those in rural areas, orphans and vulnerable children, as well as those from poor households and fragile families.

  • The MoPSE has announced commencement of June examinations on 30 June 2020. This will be followed by schools re-opening on 30 July 2020. This will start with final year classes (Grade 7, Form 4 and 6) to provide adequate preparation for national examinations. While school closures have increased the risk of some learners permanently dropping out of school, opening schools in a context of increasing cases loads and without a well-resourced health response also represents major health risks for children, teachers and school communities. To add to these challenges, schools, which traditionally fund their daily operations from user fees will likely be resource-constrained because of the inability of parents to pay school fees and the increased burden of operating schools.

  • The cluster is targeting 3.5 million learners in early childhood education, primary level and secondary level through prioritization of activities.