Disappointing news in Zimbabwe as the government announces that Early Childhood Development teachers that were on the government’s payroll will not be funded in the 2018 budget.
ECD services were already underfunded in Zimbabwe. Due to lack of funds, infrastructure and professional development have taken a back seat to salaries. With the government’s decision to remove ECD teacher salaries from the budget, communities and parents will have to take on the burden.
In 2004, Zimbabwe introduced policy which required each primary school to offer at least two ECD classes for children from 3 to 5. Two levels of pre-school education are required before admittance into Grade One in Zimbabwe. The government encouraged teaching programs to increase recruitment efforts in order to fill the empty teaching jobs left by the new policy. These programs, which have seen high enrolment in the last few years, will take a hit—as will the students who are following them. While the government is creating a plan to keep ECD teachers who are working in primary schools employed, those who were finishing teaching programs have no guarantee.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, stressed the importance of ECD. At a meeting, Ndlovu told the Primary and Secondary Education minister, Paul Mavhima, that the Association “…will not accept a situation whereby this important phase of learning is scrapped.”
The country needs 5,907 additional teachers to provide for the 427,800 young children in need of ECD services. Only 21.6% of children between the ages of 3 and 4 are enrolled in an ECD program.
Read more about the situation for Zimbabwe’s early years teachers here.