CHAPTER THREE AT-RISKINESS IN THE ZIMBABWEAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
This chapter presents the literature relating to Zimbabwean secondary schooling with special reference to at-riskiness. First, an overview of the legislation and structure of the Zimbabwean system of schooling is given. Thereafter, structural and policy elements that pertain to at-riskiness are discussed
OVERVIEW OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN ZIMBABWE
Since independence, Zimbabwean legislation and policy have been motivated and crafted by a desire to correct past wrongs. At independence in 1980, the country deliberately adopted a mass-driven socialist education policy (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011) aimed at correcting a segregatory pre-independence education system which denied blacks equal educational access. To ensure mass access, the government implemented a number of revisions to the pre-independence education policy. While, officially, education was supposed to be run under the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Education Act of 1979, there are many views which postulate that the ZANU PF Election Manifesto was indeed the de facto policy document guiding its operations up to 1987. The initial ten years were all about revisionism for massification on pre-independence policies. Government and communities built more schools and trained more teachers. The government declared tuition-free and compulsory primary education, like most states in Africa (Mapako & Mareva, 2013) but never really implemented it.
However, the fees were very low compared to what was demanded after 1991. Declaring free education was consistent with recognizing education as a fundamental human right necessary for Zimbabwe to redress past colonial imbalances (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). There also has been a repeated effort towards curriculum vocationalization since independence by introducing employment-related skills into the high-school-level curriculum. After the first ten years, government continued to maintain the two types of education characteristic of pre-independence educational legislation and policy, whose philosophy believes in class-based separate education. This appears to be further confirmed by the legislation decentralizing schools, which has increased at-riskiness for some sections of society. These decisions are consistent with the definition of education policy stating viewing education as a formal, strategic educational decision-making process engaged in by the government to the more quotidian practice of problem definition and strategy making (explicit or tacit, viable or not) for educational problem resolutions (Levinson & Sutton, 2015). In practice, from 1980 to 1987, the nearest policy document to explain the source of what was going on in the Zimbabwean education system seems to be the ZANU PF 1980 Election Manifesto. The Education Act of 1987 has been followed by more revisions, some of which are the Secretary’s minute circulars and directors’ minutes.
By Independence Day on 18 April 1980, education was still under the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Education Act of 1979, characterized by a determination to uphold the provision of a superior education to all whites and very little (as well as inferior) education for all blacks. It is generally believed that the ZANU PF-led government chose to use its 1980 Election Manifesto, whose goal was the eradication of all class-based educational access for Zimbabweans. For that reason, government, in the absence of the new government’s approved educational legislation, appears to have chosen, for some policies, to run education in terms of the 1980 Election Manifesto (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). It is probably a realistic conclusion to suggest that, for the purposes of addressing the immediate educational access aspirations of the poor, this manifesto was adopted as the de facto educational legislation up to 1987 by the enthusiastic educationist, Dzingai Mutumbuka, ZANU PF Secretary for Education and also the appointed Minister for Education. This phase is characterized by the policy of promoting growth with equity. The number of primary schools subsequently increased from 2,401 in 1979 to 4,234 in 1985 and to 4,549 in 1991, and enrolment totalled 819,586, 2,216,873 and 2,294,934 in the same years (Secretary’s 1991 Annual Report). The mass-enrolled primary school student cohort into Year One in 1980 would certainly have been preparing to enrol at secondary school by 1987. However, by 1987, running the education system using an informal document appears to have become increasingly awkward. Chikoko (2008) suggests that the need for formal legislation was motivated by the growing need to decentralize some of the state’s management functions to local authorities in order to ease the financial pressures caused by the social welfare state during the first few years of independence.
The Government of Zimbabwe Education Act of 1987
The Education Act of 1987 (Government of Zimbabwe 1987) is the first post-independence government educational legislation and the most significant representing some of the ZANU PF 1980 Election Manifesto educational policies implemented after 1980 (Mafa & Nyathi, 2013). The main provisions of the Education Act of 1987 (Government of Zimbabwe, 1987) were adopted in order to address the shortcomings of the Education Act of 1979 (Government of Rhodesia 1979), and this was done by adding Part 2, sections 4, 5 and 6, and in that order, these sections declared education as children’s fundamental right, education was declared compulsory and that there would be minimum fees for education, which was supposed to be free at primary school level.
The first two sections addressed the shortcomings of the Education Act of 1979 (Government of Rhodesia 1979) but the implication of the Education Act of 1987 (Government of Zimbabwe 1987) is that it, ironically, confirmed the perpetuation of at-riskiness. This was so on the premise of some of the highlights of the Act (Government of Zimbabwe 1987). These include formalizing the policy of deracialization for the two formerly separate systems of education into a single non-racial system (Zvobgo, 2003). This meant the democratization of education through the introduction of cost-sharing with parents even though this potentially exposed children from disadvantaged families instantly into at-riskiness. It further declared education as a human right, which was not easily translated into action for lack of a supervision instrument. Educational access fees are a negation of equity if a government seeks to enforce fundamental and compulsory education (Humphreys & Crawfurd, 2014). This contradiction appears to be self-evident after the 1987 legislation. Subsequent Acts have only confirmed the education-after-fees-payment principle and so far, that appears to be working against vulnerable people.
The Government of Zimbabwe Education Act of 1991
By 1991, changes to the Government of Zimbabwe Education Act of 1987 became necessary as the country faced a different socio-economic climate from the one existing since 1980. This necessitated the amendment of the Education Act of 1987 (No. 5/1987) by bringing it in line with the new socio-economic environment foreseen in the then proposed introduction of ESAP. According to Zimbabwe Framework (1990), ESAP required government to implement a number of strategies to reform the economy (Zvobgo, 2003). This included reducing its deficit from 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 5 per cent by the fiscal year 1994–95 (Zimbabwe Framework, 1990). Government was further required to introduce trade liberalization in order to encourage investment inflow and also to deregularize trade and achieve increased domestic competition (Zvobgo, 2003). This provided entrepreneurs with the freedom necessary to respond to emerging marketing opportunities and pressures in all markets including education. Finally, government was expected by ESAP to reduce expenditure on social services like education through a cost-sharing arrangement with the beneficiaries (Zimbabwe Framework, 1990).
In practical terms, all educational institutions would institute cost-recovery measures in order to reduce the financial burden on government created by increasing costs. There would be no more free primary education in rural and urban schools (Zvobgo 2003). Furthermore, parents would be levied to supplement resources costs for various services offered by the schools. In addition, all non-core business of the school was to be subcontracted to the private sector: catering, cleaning, landscaping and security would no longer be the responsibility of the government (Zimbabwe Framework 1990). This meant that children in high-density area schools who were previously exempted now also paid fees (Zvobgo 2003). Even rural secondary school students were now expected to pay school fees despite the hardships faced by rural parents (Zvobgo 2003).
The main changes of the Government of Zimbabwe Education Act of 1991 (No. 26/1991) included the introduction of tuition fees at the primary school level, which left poor students at risk of failing to access education. If this law was born out of the possible fact that government simply did not have the money, then either way, the at-risk students were still exposed even without this law. This law confirms government’s inability to finance education for all. Government policy position was now that schooling had to be paid for, according to Shizha and Kariwo (2011). Education became a paid-for product to be only accessed upon payment of fees by every consumer. Although government stipulated in its law that fees were to be paid according to family means, in practice even the poor still had to pay the market value, way above what they could freely offer if there had been a choice (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). Shizha and Kariwo (2011) further note that Group A schools charged very high fees. This denied the poor’s access into those schools. However, through those high fees, such schools were able to improve their resources for an even better quality education as a result of better facilities and the recruitment of experienced and better educated teachers compared to the Group B schools.
ESAP compelled government to cut costs from education and asked parents to pay up. This was a total reversal of the principle of free and compulsory primary education enacted into law by the 1987 Act. It also reclassified schools as either government or non-government (Government of Zimbabwe, 1991). Education Statutory Instruments No. 87 of 1992 and No. 70 of 1993 were released for the implementation of this new policy. This Act introduced the formation of SDCs in non-governmental schools and, under Statutory Instrument No. 70 of 1993, SDAs in government schools. Both had similar mandates as they paved the way for the involvement of parents in the financial matters of schools (Mafa & Nyathi, 2013). The main aim of this statute was to try and involve parents in school boards, as had been practised in white-dominated community private and independent schools. Parents were formally made responsible for providing the educational finance which government had withdrawn. Government defended this move as an equalization of non-government schools on a par with government schools which had long enjoyed the support of school boards. The SDAs and SDCs were supposed to boost local resources (Zvobgo, 2004) and benefit schools through organizational efficiency and effectiveness. These instruments were silent on how poor and already marginalized communities would source the resources for SDA/SDC management. It is clear that resources need to be present first and, where they are scanty, there is nothing for the SDAs/SDCs to mobilize. This suggests that the at-risk communities were left holding on to a powerful instrument but without the financial capacity their education required as government ‘weaned’ them off with the abandonment of the ZANU PF 1980 Election Manifesto. Perhaps the only issue of significance is that the distinction between SDAs and SDCs indicated differences between government and non-government schools to emphasize that education was now offered differently with government approval in Zimbabwe between the rich and poor categories of school systems
CHAPTER ONE BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM, PROBLEM FORMULATION, AIMS AND RESEARCH DESIGN
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY.
CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES OF AT-RISKINESS
2.2 THE THEORETICAL UNDERPINNING OF AT-RISKINESS IN ZIMBABWE
2.3 SOCIAL-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON AT-RISKINESS
2.4 SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES OF AT-RISKINESS AND THE DISADVANTAGED HOUSEHOLD
2.5 PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS OF AT-RISKINESS
2.6 AT-RISKINESS AND SCHOOL STRUCTURE
2.7 AT-RISKINESS AND SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAMMES
CHAPTER THREE AT-RISKINESS IN THE ZIMBABWEAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
3.2 OVERVIEW OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN ZIMBABWE
3.3 STRUCTURE OF THE ZIMBABWEAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
3.4 SCHOOL ENTRY
3.6 EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
3.7 TEACHER/STUDENT RATIOS
3.8 PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS
3.9 LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
3.10 TEACHER TRAINING AND TEACHER ACCREDITATION
3.11 AT-RISKINESS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM OF ZIMBABWE
3.12 DECENTRALIZATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION AND AT-RISKINESS .
3.13 AT RISKINESS SCHOOL STRATIFICATION
3.14 GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION, CLASSISM AND AT-RISKINESS
3.15 CURRICULUM AND AT-RISKINESS
3.16 TEACHER HEALTH AND SAFETY CHOICES AND STUDENT AT- RISKINESS .
CHAPTER FOUR RESEARCH DESIGN
4.3 RATIONALE FOR AND EXPOSITION OF NARRATIVE APPROACH
4.4 NARRATIVE INQUIRY
4.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.6 DATA ANALYSIS AND CODING
4.7 DATA ANALYSIS PROCEDURES PLAN
4.8 CREDIBILITY OF DATA
4.9 PILOT STUDY
4.10 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.11 RESEARCHER ROLE
CHAPTER 5 DATA PRESENTATION, INTERPRETATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
5.2 BACKGROUND TO THE NARRATIVES AND THEIR SETTINGS
5.3 CHARACTERISTICS OF AT-RISK STUDENTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF CHITUNGWIZA DISTRICT
5.4 SCHOOL-RELATED CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS TO AT-RISKINESS
5.5 AWARENESS OF NEGATIVE BEHAVIOUR BY AT-RISK STUDENTS
5.6 RESOURCE LIMITATIONS
5.7 PROTECTIVE PLANS FROM GOVERNMENT POLICIES
CHAPTER SIX SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.3 LIMITATIONS OF THIS STUDY
6.4 OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
6.6 CONTRIBUTION TO THEORY
6.8 PERSONAL REFLECTION
6.9 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
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