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Shock over Zim’s 2,7 million school drop outs

By Agencies

THERE is concern over the plight of children of school-going age who are forced to quit education due to various reasons such as poverty, with many resorting to drugs or early marriages.

Speaking during a dialogue on the Day of the African Child in Harare yesterday, Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (Ecozi) executive director Elvis Chitsungo said this was contributing to cyclical poverty.

“In Zimbabwe, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry reported that in 2021, there were 6 694 618 children of school-going age in the country, but the actual school enrolment for that year was 3 986 891,” Chitsungo said.

“This means that over 2,7 million children were out of school   and one can only wonder what the number is in 2024.”

“Unicef does report that Zimbabwe performs well in net enrolment at the primary school level, with nine out of 10 children enrolled. Enrolment rates drop, however, at secondary level and there are disparities between rural and urban areas.”

In October last year, Primary and Secondary Education minister Torerai Moyo said at least 50 000 pupils dropped out of school between 2021 and 2023.

He said as a result of the alarming figure, the ministry and its partners began working towards piloting an early warning system for mitigating school dropouts.

Chitsungo urged stakeholders, including government, to ensure that children are not denied their right to education as enshrined in the Amended Education Act (2020) and section 75 of the Constitution.

“Education is not just a right, it is the foundation for a brighter future for all. It empowers children to reach their full potential, break the cycle of poverty and contribute meaningfully to society,” Chitsungo said.

Care Zimbabwe education specialist Munetsi Muhwati said policymakers should be pressured to craft policies that promote education for all.

“This event actually coincided with the Day of the African Child and that is when we brought the parliamentary portfolio committee to dialogue and to give an ear to the learners as they will be speaking themselves, sharing on issues that affect their learning,” he said.

“It was a platform for interaction between the learners and the committee members. Ours as Care Zimbabwe was to facilitate that platform in solidarity of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child.”

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