People and Society, Education
University of Zimbabwe, Christian missionaries, Bulawayo, private boarding schools, single sex
Christian missionaries conducted the first formal education in Zimbabwe, and many schools still retain a strong religious affiliation. With the growth of white settlement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, schools for the white population were established in all the major towns. Public day schools were initially single sex and were complemented by private boarding schools modeled on those in Britain. As late as 1965 there were only two government-run secondary schools for blacks.
Primary education in Zimbabwe has been universal and compulsory since 1987. With nearly half the population of school age, there has been massive growth since the country’s independence in the provision of education. Education accounts for approximately 20 percent of government expenditure. Virtually all primary school-aged children enroll in school, but only 50 percent attend secondary schools and just 7 percent attend colleges or universities. Zimbabwe has two state universities, the University of Zimbabwe (founded as the University College of Rhodesia in 1955) in Harare, and the National University of Science and Technology (founded in 1990) in Bulawayo. There are also several private colleges. Literacy has increased dramatically since independence. Adult literacy was estimated at 97 percent (99 percent for males and 96 percent for females) in 2001, up from only 39 percent in 1962.
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