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Zimbabwe education in steady decline

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Published on Oct 23, 2012

Venue: Manicaland; Mashonaland Central
Date: 16/08/2012
Context:
With a former literacy rate of over 90% after gaining independence (CIA World Fact Book: 1990), Zimbabwe's standard of national education has seen a steady decline since the 2008 elections with a variety of politically motivated factors contributing to this impending crisis.
This piece highlights various facets of the education problem. The current government, under ruling party Zanu-PF, has provided limited support and infrastructure to teachers and learners as various community members testify to. These include shortages of basic shelter and facilities.
The politicisation of education by the ruling party also plays a role. Indoctrination of an autocratic regime's youth is the first step to maintaining power through fear and oppression learned at a young age.
The children in an Independence Day celebration play re-enacts dramatic bush warfare scenes of dissidents being gunned down between party slogans damning any opposition, in this case, the MDC.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the political aspirations of the ruling party threaten the education of many of Zimbabwe's youth as a concerned father testifies to. This is evident with a UNICEF survey estimating that primary school attendance has dropped from 80% to 20% in the last few years following the 2008 elections.
While these factors worsen the country's education situation, various unions have recently taken to the streets striking for pay increases, something many consider a positive move towards decreasing the absenteeism of teachers across the country.

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