Friday, June 30, 2006

Zim educational system declining

Standards of learning and teaching in Zimbabwe, at one time the envy of the African continent, have been plummeting, says a report by a cross-party parliamentary committee.

The Portfolio Committee on Education painted a grim picture after visiting institutions of higher learning, and in some cases finding female students resorting to sex work or cohabiting with men to pay for their fees at universities and colleges.

Tuition and examination fees, as well as accommodation costs, have rocketed and students have to fork out as much as Zim$200 million (US$2,000) per semester, while their grants have remained stagnant at Zim$13 million (US$130) per term. An average worker earns about US$150 a month.

"Education is now a preserve for the rich, some students have dropped out of programmes, others will not be able to write examinations, which they cannot afford, while others have had to defer their studies," the committee noted.

Promise Mkhwananzi, president of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu), which represents students at 38 higher learning institutions, told IRIN that some male students had also turned to crime to pay for their tuition and other expenses. ...

I also suspect that many of the more skilled teachers have emigrated to countries where pay was better...

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