Quality Learning and Skills Development
The goal of UNICEF Zimbabwe Education Programme is to increase equitable access to, and completion of, quality, inclusive education, with improved learning outcomes.
Intersectoral barriers to boys and girls accessing education include household poverty, abuse, remoteness, poor infrastructure and socio-cultural norms.
Demand for pre-primary education is low. And although more girls than boys complete primary education, far too many girls drop out by Form 4. This is mainly due to poverty, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, school-related GBV, parents’ prioritisation of boys education over that of girls, and insufficient gender-sensitive infrastructure in schools.
Intersectoral barriers to boys and girls accessing education include household poverty, abuse, remoteness, poor infrastructure and socio-cultural norms. Attrition, insufficient teachers and low capacity, and risks of violence and/or emergencies jeopardise both learning quality and continuity.
In response to such current realities, UNICEF Zimbabwe’s ‘Quality Learning and Skills Development’ programme has shifted the emphasis from education to learning, focussing on services and inclusiveness for both children and adolescents, particularly the disadvantaged and those in humanitarian settings. The programme is about accessing equitable and quality learning opportunities in an efficient, effective and resilient education system.
The first priority, therefore, can be summed up as: access to inclusive, quality, basic education services and learning opportunities for all children.
UNICEF supports efforts to prevent student dropping out of school – particularly for of girls. It supports the reintegration of pregnant girls back into school, to enhance non-formal education options and to strengthen intersectoral collaboration on education for children with disabilities.
UNICEF will use social and behaviour change campaigns and community engagement to promote and increase demand for children’s learning and adolescents’ participation in skills development, and for ECD.
To improve learning environments, UNICEF is building upon two key innovations – the Learning Passport and GIGA – and expanding these initiatives. UNICEF will support the government in strengthening its ICT and remote teaching and learning and establishing device, procurement and distribution standards and procedures. Additionally, UNICEF will support training of teachers in remote teaching and learning and help with fund mobilisation for increasing connectivity of the schools across the country.
Continuous professional development of teachers will be continued as well as the provision of teaching and learning materials especially during humanitarian situations. New areas of work include the training of teachers for psychosocial support to learners, as well as support to special needs schools. WASH in schools will continue to be supported, as will the implementation of the disaster risk reduction and resiliency plan at school level.
Another priority is to build capacity within the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in terms of planning, budgeting, resource management and monitoring. This also includes supporting the development of disaster-risk management and resiliency planning for the Education sector and building sufficient capacity to effectively implement such plans, at all levels of education.
During emergencies, UNICEF will support education and learning to continue, largely but not only, by ensuring community engagement.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Key Objectives in Brief
- Boost and support access to inclusive, quality, basic education services and learning opportunities for all children
- Prevent drop-outs of children from school, especially girls, and support reintegration for pregnant girls
- Enhance alternative learning opportunities
- Strengthen intersectoral collaboration on education for children with disabilities
- Create more demand for adolescents’ participation in skills development
- Boost teachers’ capacity, motivation and ability to teach at potential, including using technology and connectivity
UNICEF in numbers
- 28% attendance to Early Childhood Education – very low
- 9% Upper secondary school attendance
- 4.6 million children lost access to learning in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Only 6.8% of children had access to digital learning in 2020
- 89% of children complete primary school
- 15% complete upper secondary
- Access to learning opportunities for out-of-school children is limited