Zimbabwe: National Action Plan of Zimbabwe: Education for all towards 2015, issued in 2005

© Martin Addison

Rationale of the action plan

The National Action Plan, which covers all stages of the education system from early childhood to technical, vocational and continuing education, was developed in line with the Education for All goals set by UNESCO. Strategies proposed in the plan aim to provide education for all by 2015. The six goals given in the Dakar Framework for Action focus on the following areas: early childhood education and care; primary education; life skills; adult literacy; basic and continuing education; gender equity in education; and quality of education.

Concept of lifelong learning

A lifelong learning and continuing education system functions parallel to the formal education system in Zimbabwe. The concept of lifelong learning incorporates the development of life skills that enable the individual to handle social issues related to gender, health, conflict, violence, unemployment and others. The defined goal of lifelong learning is to ensure ‘that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes’. Attaining those skills would mean that all people have the potential to survive, take control of their lives and participate in the development of society.

Main challenges

  • Children with special needs are further marginalized because of economic disadvantage
  • Lack of a comprehensive national policy on adult and non-formal education
  • Funding mechanisms that discriminate against adults and non-formal education
  • Shortage of facilities, materials and human resources (e.g. trained teachers), especially in remote areas
  • Prohibitive walking distances to some of the schools
  • Gender disparities

Main targets and measures

  • Improving access to primary, secondary and tertiary education
  • Improving the quality and relevance of educational services, including sports and cultural education
  • Ensuring equity in educational services with a special focus on marginalized and disadvantaged groups, including girls and learners with special needs
  • Establishing a well-trained teaching force
  • Strengthening partnerships with the private sector and communities in order to share costs
  • Creating opportunities for lifelong learning and continuing education
  • Increasing access to information and communications technology in the education system and providing electricity
  • Improving the infrastructure and the road networks
  • Supplying adequate learning materials
  • Expanding the scope of HIV/AIDS programmes

Particular feature of the action plan

The action plan integrates the issue of HIV/AIDS into the field of lifelong learning and life skills education. Zimbabwe is one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS. Death and illness among teachers is a major problem in some schools. Learners do not know enough about the dangers of the pandemic and many children affected by HIV/AIDS drop out of school. Furthermore, more women and girls are infected with the disease. The action plan advocates for schools to play a role in addressing the needs of vulnerable children. It proposes the development of a workplace HIV/AIDS policy. It also calls for improved HIV/AIDS prevention and life skills programmes targeted at staff and learners, enhanced health training for teachers, the provision of assistance for affected learners, and increased flexibility within the system.

References to other relevant documents:

Stakeholders involved in the development of the Action Plan:

Stakeholder responsible for implementation of the Action Plan:

  • Government

Issuing Body

Technical Committee of the Education for All Campaign in Zimbabwe