Financing Higher and Tertiary Education in Zimbabwe:Trends and Prospects for the Future.
Education Coalition of Zimbabwe
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It is widely regarded across the globe that higher and tertiary education is the cornerstone for the overall development goals of any nation. The system is established in a manner that allows any nation or state to harness its growth and economic potential through efficient and effective training of human capital. Resultantly, following the denouement of the Second World War in 1945, which substantially decimated infrastructure and human capital, there was a progressive realization that the key to reindustrialization and nation-building rested in the higher and tertiary education sector. Hence, in most countries, people were encouraged to attend higher education institutions through financial support in the form of loans and grants as well as zero- rated institutions. Yet, in Africa, and specifically Zimbabwe, the colonial system, while encouraging enrolment in higher and tertiary education institutions, restricted access to the ‘productive’ sectors to the white minority while the native blacks were only enrolled in ‘blue collar programs’. The education system in Zimbabwe, since 1957 was financed on a cost- sharing basis with costs shared between the student and the public purse. The practice across the majority of the world was premised on public financing. The Zimbabwean system provided student support through loans and grants but the weak loan recovery system made student financing less of a blessing and more of a burden on the national fiscus. The system was eventually abandoned in 2006 and the height of the economic malaise in Zimbabwe. The multi- currency regime adopted in 2009 increased the tuition fees twenty-fold but remained constant until 2019 when the amounts payable became unsustainable. Since then, the tuition fees payable have been reviewed upwards almost after every semester and this has militated against accessibility and affordability of higher and tertiary education. This has necessitated for incessant calls for the development of a higher education financing model that is predictable, sustainable, affordable and responsive to the market demands. This research study sought to bring to understanding the financing of higher and tertiary education in Zimbabwe with a view towards proffering plausible recommendations to achieve to overall goal.
DescriptionA desk research by the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe.