With the introduction of the Economic Structural Adjustment in the 1990's, schools started to charge fees to purchase learning materials
A harsh economic environment meant parents haven't been able to afford fees
In many cases schooling has continued, but with severely lacking resources (charts, reference books, magazines, journals, pupil's textbooks, etc)
Schools try to compensate and provide textbooks for older students to prepare them for exams
We aim to assist in providing textbooks during the early, formative years of schooling careers at Mambanje & Hwange Main Camp Primary Schools
Evolution of the Problem
In Zimbabwe, junior education consists of 5 years of schooling from Grade 3 to Grade 7. At the end of Grade 7 learners sit for national public examinations to mark the end of the primary cycle. There is a policy to automatic promote onto the next level, from Grade 1 to Form 4 (passing or failing does not prohibit learners from progressing to the next level). On the attainment of independence in 1980, Zimbabwe pursued a policy of education for all. This practice progressed well until the introduction of the Economic Structural Adjustment in the 1990’s which saw schools starting to charge fees and then there was an increasing school dropout rate due to lack of school fees.
Schools were now required to buy their own text books from the general levies charged to the students. However due to the harsh economic environment, this meant that schools could no longer afford to buy the books as the parents (particularly in rural areas) could not afford to pay anymore.
Worryingly, children have continued with their education in an environment where there is hardly adequate educational infrastructure and material, including schools in some cases.
Mambanje & Main Camp Primary Schools
In most of rural schools including Mambanje and Main Camp Primary Schools, provision of adequate resource materials (textbooks and other learning aids) remains a basic limiting factor to curriculum delivery. It is a well-known fact that print curriculum materials in the form of teachers’ resource books and educational media (e.g. charts, reference books, magazines, journals and pupil’s textbooks) are necessary for effective learning to take place. The provision of these materials is critical for any successful implementation of the curriculum. Without these resources the teachers’ task would be difficult if not impossible.
How we’re able to make a difference
Most schools make attempt to supply more pupil textbooks at the higher-grade levels, ostensibly to prepare the pupils for the Grade 7 examinations. This is clear from the subjects that are involved which include English, Mathematics, Ndebele, and Environmental Science. Nevertheless, this late intervention is not likely to be very useful as the damage would already have been done by the severe shortages of textbooks at the earlier grade levels. Pupils who get to start using textbooks late in their schooling career are not likely to benefit much from them, and their school performance will always be below their true potential. It would be beneficial to provide textbooks in the very early grades when children are in the critically formative stages of the school cycle. It is with the above background that the African Bush Camps Foundation seeks to raise funds to support the procurement of textbooks for Mambanje and Main Camp Primary Schools.
There are currently 130 students at Mambanje Primary School and 145 students at Main Camp Primary school, bringing the total target for textbooks packages to 275 for both schools. We thus seek to raise funds through campaign for the students in the two schools.
This will help ease the textbook shortage, where currently only the teacher has the books and students must write and do their work in class only. They cannot take textbooks to work from home. In addition, only a handful of parents can afford to but the textbooks for their children thus further widening the access to education inequalities.
The project started off in December 2017 and will phase out in the second quarter of 2019, this should be adequate time to ensure that all the school children have received the textbooks gift packages and we will be able to start assessing the outcome of this intervention.