Zimbabwe cancels education year for 4.5 million after political and economic troubles

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Zimbabwe's 4.5 million students will not receive what was once the golden standard of education in Africa—or any education at all this school year.

Political violence during the country's recent presidential elections hit schools hard with strikes, murder and violence against teachers, and looting. Some schools were turned into places of torture after teachers were driven out.

The country's educators were targeted by Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF party, for alleged support of the opposition.

Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, was a teacher himself before getting into politics. He came under international controversy during Zimbabwe's recent Presidential election after threatening violence against voters.

Now the country faces a second crisis due to economic troubles and an inflation rate of two trillion percent. The few teachers still around have seen their salaries made worthless and are unable to acquire teaching supplies. "We don't even have chalk, or red pens, never mind books," says Amos Musoni, one of the few teachers still working. Schools like the one where Musoni works have given up educating and simply entertain the children before sending them off for lack of equipment.

Not even Zimbabwe's four top universities have been spared. The universities have been unable to open without funds, water, or electricity, like many public schools. College students, unable to register, are left waiting for more information.

Pass rates in the nation went from 72 to eleven percent, with many schools not seeing even one pass. Schools in the countries have not been able to prepare students for tests without timetables or even the results from last year.