Education in Zimbabwe

The 2016-2020 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) focuses on:

  • Providing a strong legal regulatory context
  • Phasing in a new curriculum
  • Inclusive education and second chance opportunities to learn
  • Infrastructure
  • Teacher professional development
  • Building leadership and management skills at all levels
  • Evidence-based policy making.

The most recent joint sector review notes that despite some challenges, considerable efforts have gone into the implementation of the new curriculum with progress being made in all areas of access, equity and efficiency. However, challenges remain. Systematic underfunding from the late 1980s has caused the main challenge: the system is dependent on parental and community support.

Currently, parents contribute approximately 96% of the non-salary costs to education, raising equity concerns. Another challenge is the large dropout from lower secondary schools (over 20%). These challenges have caused inequity of access and low quality of education provision, particularly affecting some parts of the country and the poorer populations.

The ESSP sets out to reverse the impact on access and the quality of learning outcomes, which has resulted from the historical context and the economic crisis.

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Kanyepi and his classmates from Grade 1 use reading materials prepared by their teacher. Zimbabwe.

Kanyepi and his classmates from Grade 1 use reading materials prepared by their teacher. Zimbabwe.

CREDIT: GPE/Carine Durand
Development objective: Within a comprehensive, effective and dynamic policy framework, all children, particularly the most vulnerable, access quality and relevant learning
Allocation: US$39,400,000
Years: 2016-2020
Grant agent: UNICEF
Disbursements: US$13,477,750

In December 2016, the GPE Board approved the fixed part of the grant or US$20.58 million, which became effective in January 2017. In August 2018, the GPE Board approved a US$8.82 million grant for the variable part, as well as US$10 million Multiplier grant.

US$50.5 million has been leveraged in additional financing to the sector through the Multiplier. The ratio of funding mobilized from the Multiplier is 5:1, exceeding the 3:1 co-financing requirement.

The US$20.58 million GPE grant finances GPE 2, a three-year program that aims to increase the number of children successfully completing basic education. The program has 5 components:

  1. Provide a strong policy, legal and regulatory framework
  2. Curricula roll-out
  3. Improved equity and access
  4. Institutional strengthening
  5. Sector monitoring

The US$8.82 million grant will finance 5 programs that are aligned to the education sector plan.

The US$10 million Multiplier grant will be allocated to 1,000 schools as part of Zimbabwe's School IMprovement Grant to finance expenditures to complete classrooms and equip the learning environment so that the new curriculum can be delivered effectively.

The equity dimension of the variable part aims to revise the education act, a tool to make schooling more attractive. Also, the school improvement grant, which will be released under this component, will improve equity as it targets the most disadvantaged schools. 

The efficiency dimension aims to increase the female survival rate to improve student flow efficiency in the education system. In addition, it seeks to incentivize a timelier release of EMIS data, so that it can strengthen the evidence base for key decisions affecting the sector.

The learning dimension aims to improve performance in mathematics by providing in-service training for 12,000 teachers and delivering a package of documents related to the curriculum framework to all schools.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2018-2020 18,820,000 59,743 UNICEF  
2016-2019 20,580,000 13,418,007 UNICEF Progress report
2014-2016 23,600,000 23,600,000 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2012 250,000 239,540 IBRD  
  TOTAL 63,250,000 37,317,290    

GPE has also provided the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Zimbabwe, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

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.

Last updated February 13, 2020