Education in Zimbabwe | Global Partnership for Education


  • GPE partner since: 2013
  • Coordinating agency: DFID
  • GPE Secretariat Country Lead: Lucinda Ramos


Ten years ago, Patrick Makokoro started a foundation to promote early childhood education in Zimbabwe. But as he was growing up in Zimbabwe access to quality education was a struggle, as Makokoro...
In 2015, results from the Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment (ZELA) showed promising improvements. This progress in learning was largely due to the focused strategies and programs implemented by the...
Zimbabwe’s education sector received a major boost after GPE approved a US$20.6 million grant last week. The grant aims to improve access to quality education.

Education in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe considers human capital investment via education a major tool for sustainable development. Education is recognized as a fundamental human right and necessary for the development of the people in society.

Zimbabwe’s education sector has suffered from several challenges that have deteriorated its quality. These include poor physical infrastructure, brain drain, and declining standards in school performance.

The vision of the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2020 is to “be the leading provider of inclusive, quality education for socio-economic transformation by 2020.” The plan includes four pillars:

  1. Access for all, including providing adequate infrastructure, opportunity for non-formal education, early identification of children at risk of not entering the system, dropping out or falling behind, and strategies to support those unable to meet education fees.
  2. Quality and relevant learning with the introduction of a competency-based curriculum that includes ICT, STEAM/STEM, education for sustainable development and life skills.
  3. Focus on learners by building, developing, monitoring and upgrading the professional skills of teachers already in the profession and by developing a responsive pre-service curricula.
  4. Strong leadership, management and monitoring providing efficient and effective service delivery within an institution that has the right structural framework.

Responding to these pillars, five core programs have been identified:

  • Introduction, monitoring and adjustment of new curricula at all levels
  • Enhancing infrastructure to meet population growth needs, and ensure learning environments are inclusive and age appropriate
  • Introduction of a teacher quality improvement program, to build professional skills and competencies, and formalize professional standards
  • Establishing a capacity development program, in order to manage institutional change for a modern and progressive education system
  • Development of a Center for education research, innovation and development, and building the country’s capacity to provide and analyze data that will inform its policies.

In order to monitor implementation of the ESSP, Zimbabwe has identified performance indicators for outputs, outcomes and processes, which will be disaggregated by gender, location, and socio-economic status and reviewed during annual reviews.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2017-2020 20,600,000 - UNICEF
2014-2016 23,600,000 18,833,722 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2012 250,000 239,540 IBRD
  TOTAL 44,450,000 19,073,262  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Zimbabwe

A boy attends Avondale Infant School in Zimbabwe. Credit: GPE/Carine Durand

The GPE-funded program in Zimbabwe began in early 2014. The project’s objective is to boost learning outcomes in basic education through professional development, improved teacher supervision and management, and strengthening evidence based policy and planning.

The three components of the grant are:

  1. Provide professional development for better teaching and learning through in-service support to teachers in early childhood development, Grades 1-3, strengthening skills to teach reading, and catch-up remedial education for Grades 1-4.
  2. Strengthen supervision and management of teacher performance and development through integrating teacher minimum standards into schools and creating the teacher training and development information system.
  3. Strengthen strategic planning to support the development of the Education Sector Support Program 2020.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education implements the program with UNICEF as grant agent and DFID as coordinating agency.

Source: Program document. March 2013


The first GPE program in Zimbabwe has contributed to progress within the education sector, by achieving the following results:

  • 31,354 teachers received training in the use of early reading materials.
  • 50,000 early childhood development modules , and 44,000 reading materials for grades 1 and 2 were distributed, giving each pre-school teacher the resources they need.
  • Instruments to monitor the early reading initiative have been developed for each level.
  • 41,855 teachers have been trained in the use of the performance lag address program (PLAP), and 567,700 students have completed Learning Achievement Tracking (LAT) tests.
  • A handbook and training manual for teacher professional standards have been distributed and are in use in all infant, junior and secondary schools.

Source: UNICEF Zimbabwe 11th quarterly progress report. August 2016

Last updated December 16, 2016