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Educational System in Zimbabwe

The one tip that you hear expats living in Zimbabwe repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Zimbabwe. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Zimbabwe is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Zimbabwe.
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Zimbabwe’s education system is renowned for its high academic standards and is often considered one of the best in Africa. The system is divided into several stages, each designed to cater to the different developmental and educational needs of children as they grow. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive understanding of the Zimbabwean education system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, and the possibilities of homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Zimbabwe?

The Zimbabwean education system is divided into four main stages: Early Childhood Development (ECD), Primary Education, Secondary Education, and Tertiary Education. Each stage is designed to cater to the different developmental and educational needs of children as they grow.

Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the first stage of education in Zimbabwe, catering to children aged 3 to 5 years. This stage focuses on the holistic development of children, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. It provides a strong foundation for children’s future learning and development.

Primary Education

Primary Education in Zimbabwe is for children aged 6 to 12 years. It focuses on basic literacy, numeracy, and life skills. The curriculum includes subjects like English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Shona or Ndebele (local languages).

Secondary Education

Secondary Education in Zimbabwe is divided into two stages: ‘O’ level (Ordinary level) for ages 13 to 16, and ‘A’ level (Advanced level) for ages 17 to 18. The ‘O’ level focuses on a broad range of subjects, while the ‘A’ level is more specialized, preparing students for university education.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary Education in Zimbabwe includes universities, polytechnics, and teacher training colleges. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs in various fields.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in Zimbabwean schools by first choosing a suitable school and then contacting the school directly for the application process. The required documents usually include the child’s birth certificate, previous school reports, and a passport-size photo. Some schools may also require an entrance exam.

My children are still learning Shona or Ndebele, can they enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning Shona or Ndebele can enroll in public schools in Zimbabwe. English is the medium of instruction in most schools, and additional language support is often provided for non-native speakers.

Are there public bilingual schools?

Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Zimbabwe that offer instruction in both English and a local language (Shona or Ndebele). These schools are a good option for expat children as they provide an opportunity to learn the local language while continuing their education in English.

What types of private schools are common in Zimbabwe?

Private schools in Zimbabwe include international schools, religious schools (such as Catholic schools), and independent schools. International schools often follow the British or American curriculum, while religious and independent schools follow the Zimbabwean curriculum.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Zimbabwe typically send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the familiar curriculum, language of instruction, and high academic standards.

How expensive are Private schools in Zimbabwe?

Private schools in Zimbabwe can be quite expensive, with fees varying widely depending on the school. International schools are generally the most expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand to several thousand US dollars per term.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Zimbabwe?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in Zimbabwe. However, it’s important to note that the homeschooling curriculum must be approved by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Zimbabwe?

Yes, children can attend online schools while living in Zimbabwe. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the educational standards of Zimbabwe.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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