Zimbabwe has always been one of the poorest countries in Africa, but over the last decade, this is no longer the case. The number of children that are in school has doubled in the last year.
In the last election, only about 4 percent of those eligible to vote actually managed to do so. That’s not good enough. In fact, a recent report by the United Nations Development Programme found that the number of children in sub-Saharan Africa that could not attend school is projected to grow to nearly a billion by 2020.
So is this just a result of higher economic growth, or is this a new problem? Both are not unlikely, but the new report indicates that the former has certainly played a part. The average size of a family in Zimbabwe is just 14.8 people in the country, compared to 24.8 in the US (for reference, the US has an average family size of 34 people) and the UK at around 28.
And that’s not even counting the number of children in sub-Saharan Africa that could not attend school. The report said that the average of 1.7 children per family was 10.6 in the US, compared to 11.2 in the UK and 31.6 in the UK. That’s more than the average of 30 children in a family in the UK and 28 children in a family in Zimbabwe.
We can’t say that the Zimbabwean government has the least amount of ambition (in terms of money) to encourage the education of the young. But we can give the school system a little too much credit to be encouraging them.
The Zimbabwe government has said that it’s going to help school authorities keep up with the demand for education, but even so, the numbers are pretty shocking. As of last year there were 34 schools for children aged 4-16 in Zimbabwe, compared to the same age group in the UK with 30. So even if the government is helping, there still seems to be a problem.
Also, what’s even more troubling is that the education system actually does nothing to help the students with the problems they face. In Zimbabwe, the average age at which a school lets pupils start work is 15. However, there are no teachers around to help them. The government is also heavily dependent on the private sector for schools’ funding, and that means private school fees are exorbitant.
The only thing the government is doing is collecting data about the problems of a country. And what problems does that data point to? In my personal experience, it’s all about the school fees. That’s not to say other things aren’t also going on. Many of the students attending these schools are, at least in some way, receiving inadequate education.
The data is only a small part of this problem. I’ve got a friend who attended a private school for a few years and his parents are both quite unhappy about what went on. They’re very concerned about the quality of education and want to know how and why the school failed so badly. They think this is because the private school was not properly managed and managed poorly. I think that’s a valid concern.
The same thing seems to be happening in South Africa, where schools for blacks are far more segregated than they are for whites. According to the report from the Department of Education, while there are some good schools in the country, many of them are in areas where the majority of the blacks live. The situation is very bad.