Zimbabwe Schools Record Zero Percent Pass Rate

Zimbabwe primary school children sit in a teacherless in Harare, where the teachers are refusing to teach this year until they get a salary increase. Government says there is no money to pay them. This is coming as last year's Grade Seven results show that the Zimbabwe's rural schools recorded a zero percent pass rate, again a result of teachers' strikes and protests and the crumbling economy last year. It looks like it will be the same again this year.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 January 2010

A recently issued report reveals that the Grade Seven results from 2009 show that rural schools in Zimbabwe have recorded a zero percent pass rate. Which is not surprising considering that teachers were on strike or showing up for work but not teaching.

In addition, the economic problems facing Zimbabwe have seen many children and families suffer from want, so that they attended school on empty stomachs, could not concentrate or their families simply failed to pay school fees and the children ended up not attending classes for a big part of the year.

Matabeleland South Province, an unlucky province in Zimbabwe which suffers from severe droughts in good times fro Zimbabwe's agriculture, has recorded between zero and nine percent pass rate.

Nationally, the pass rate is between zero and eight percent when averaged out.

There is no way Zimbabwe can reverse the brain drain with things as they are now. Most of the professionals who fled the country to take their skills to the UK and other countries did so for financial reasons and to give their children a shot at a better future.

With education still in the doldrums, there is no way that these professionals can be enticed back. This is even more apparent when you consider the handful of quality private schools that are still operating are charging an arm and a led and that Zimbabwean salaries remain dismal, led by a government that is paying civil servants slave wages and you have a recipe for ensuring that the brain drain is not reversed in the next five or even ten years.

Even this year, with Zimbabwe's economy said to be "recovering", professionals are still leaving the country.

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance, had bad news for the education sector in this year's budget, allocating a measly 22 percent of his US$1.4 billion budget. This includes money to refurbish crumbling educational infrastructure like classrooms and school furniture.

It means less money for teachers' pay, less money for texbooks and all the other teaching aids. It also means that there is no hope that the education sector will recover this year.

Already, with schools having opened last week on Tuesday here in Zimbabwe, teachers are on strike. They are showing up for work but are refusing to teach until the Inclusive Government agrees to increase their salaries.

The Teachers' Unions are saying if there is no agreement, then they will call for a strike and it will interesting to see the MDC co-Minister of Home Affairs agreeing with his ZANU PF co-minister to send in the Riot Police to beat up and disperse the demonstrating teachers!

The more things change.....



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