A RECENT survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, working in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (Unicef), has revealed that the country’s education sector defied the socio–economic challenges experienced at the turn of the millennium and remained accessible courtesy of the Education Transition Fund (ETF).
The ETF was a pool fund established by the international donor community to bankroll and complement government’s educational programmes at the height of the hyper-inflation era.
The statistics show that while primary completion rate in 1999 was pegged at 42,6%, it shot up to 98,9% in 2014.
The percentage of children reaching the last grade of primary school also increased from 82,4% to 90,7% during the same period while secondary school net attendance ration rose from 44,8% to 57,5%.
A slight increase was recorded in the primary school attendance ratio which was pegged at 91,2% in 2009 and went up to 93,7% in 2014.
“Compared to the health sector, basic education largely survived the collapse of services running up to 2009, at least in terms of access,” the report reads.
The report also noted that since 2009, the percentage of children in Grade 1 who attended pre-school during the previous school year rose from 75% to about 86% in 2014 while secondary school attendance ratio increased by 13% between 2009 and 2010.
“The biggest gain was achieved in primary school completion,” the report further reads.
“The investments [made] over the years managed to ensure that every child in primary school is able to reach the last grade of primary education.”
The survey further established that although the country was able to bridge the gender gaps in education, pockets of inequalities could still be seen across the rural–urban divide especially in secondary education.
Under Millennium Development goal number two, Zimbabwe pledged to ensure that by 2015 all Zimbabwean children will be able to complete a full programme of primary education.
Completion rates have risen from 68% in 2005 to 82% in 2009, with students in urban areas and female students have been shown to demonstrate higher completion rates.