A Critical Analysis of the One Hundred Years of Growth and Development of Technical and Vocational Education Policy in Zimbabwe: 1890 - 1990
Zengeya, Munyaradzi Alexander
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By the year 1990, Zimbabwe was experiencing strong socio-economic development challenges needing the critical attention of its policy makers. For example, the country’s 1992 population census revealed that unemployed citizens constituted twenty-two percent of the population and fifty-three percent of them were holders of either certificates, diplomas or degrees from tertiary institutions, suggesting a mismatch between technical and vocational education (TVE) policy growth and development and socio-economic development. This study was carried out in order to learn from the past and propose a more effective policy direction for the future. It sought to determine whether Zimbabwe’s TVE policy growth and development process between 1890 and 1990 had a distinct pattern, and whether the process was influenced by international trends and by identified human resources needs for socio-economic development. In addition, the study sought to identify the aspects of TVE policy growth and development from Zimbabwe’s history that were apparent in policy within the country ten years after independence. Utilising a historical methodology that combined document analysis and a survey, the study revealed that early TVE policy growth and development in Zimbabwe was based on Victorian principles and later on Marxist-Lenninist principles. Nevertheless, it lacked a local focus and clarity for one-hundred years. This was mainly because of the TVE system’s failure to meet local demand for training and the rather high underutilisation of system graduates between 1890 and 1990. As a solution, the study recommended that Zimbabwe’s TVE policy grows and develops in a direction that: best addresses identified strategic national socio-economic focal points; develops identified core skills; effectively addresses the TVE needs of socially disadvantaged groups; urgently establishes centres of excellence; reduces the number of training programmes within tertiary institutions that are duplications leading to a wastage of training resource; gives increased responsibilities for supervising TVE activities to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education; makes all economically active adult Zimbabweans contribute towards a training levy; and gives special consideration to the TVE needs of school dropouts. This researcher believes that implementing these recommendations will result in a more effective, focused and clearer TVE policy growth and development for Zimbabwe.