Primary, Secondary and Non-Formal Education Department

The current Zimbabwean education system is based on Formal or mainstream and Non –Formal Education (NFE). Historically the creation of NFE was a close- gap measure for those who had been denied access to education prior to independence. NFE is an alternative pathway to access education through various programmes and provides relevant lifelong skills and survival knowledge in a flexible manner.

Currently the NFE has undertaken a National Longitudinal Study (2017 -2020). This is a cohort study of 3780 Grade 6 learners from 270 schools in the ten provinces of Zimbabwe on causes of drop outs. Findings from the final report will inform policy on causes and provides opportunities for interventions. The second undertaking by the NFE is the Syllabus Compression under Open Distance Learning. This is an accelerated learning for Primary and Secondary levels- to address the gap of those learners who have dropped out in formal schooling or getting second chance learning

Guiding policy documents

Operations of the Non Formal Education programmes are guided by the National Constitution; Education Act 2006; Updated Curriculum 2015 -2022; Non- Formal Education Policy of 2015 and other circulars.

Current Non Formal Education Programmes

The key role of NFE is to help cushion all those who are marginalized especially orphans, dropouts, and those with challenges in accessing formal education systems due to various factors, including poverty and long distances to school amongst other l factors. The various NFE programmes include:

  • ‘Basic Education ( ECD to Grades 1-2) which provided the basic 3 Rs skills for literacy purposes
  • Zimbabwe Adult Basic Education Course ( ZABEC) – Grades 3-7 -This is a three year accelerated teaching of adults in preparation of writing the national ZIMSEC examination at Grade 7 level.
  • Functional literacy- NFE has created and superintended over 9000 centres nationally to offer livelihood skills at every school equipping both learners and communities.
  • Part Time and Continuing Education (PTCE) – Forms 1-6 (PTCE) –For learners who drop out after Form 2 and fail to transition to “O Level”.

Partnership Programmes for the NFE

NFE programmes have limited fiscal support and therefore engage with various partners to help in addressing some of the needs of out of school marginalized learners. The following educational partners have and are playing pivotal roles in supporting NFE programmes.

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)- is currently supporting the compression of syllabi for Open and Distance Learning at national level and the National Longitudinal Study on the experiences of those who drop out in Zimbabwe
  • Plan International-Support the Sage Programme to assist girls in the age range 13-19 with lifelong skills in 9 districts.
  • Mavambo Trust-Supports the vulnerable out-of school children.
  • World Vision- Supports the Community Based Education Programme to equip young adults with lifelong skills in 11 districts.
  • World Education Incorporated- Engaged in crafting the Community Engagement Framework.
  • CAMFED- Supports girl children in educational materials and fees for examinations.