Zimbabwe - Quality Education and Vulnerability
Implementation: 2008 - 2013
Budget: Total 2008 - 2013: €3,287,594 (realised 2008 - 2010: €1,244,133 - planned 2011 - 2013: €2,043,461)
Key themes: Education, Teaching, Orphans, Vulnerable Children
The political and socio-economic challenges facing Zimbabwe have implications for both the government and the people. The Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education have a limited budget and therefore are insufficiently supporting schools. Students and their parents themselves largely have to look for funds to support schools.
There are more than 1.3 million orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. Within the education sector, there is a shortage of qualified teachers who can deal with this. VVOB works since 2001 around HIV/AIDS issues and environmental education. Since 2008, the emphasis of the programme is on vulnerable children in education: a vulnerable child has to fully develop in an environment where the teachers have a caring attitude.
The Quality Education and Vulnerability Programme helps teacher training colleges in their training of teachers. The aim is that teachers develop skills and attitudes that contribute to the development, safety and welfare of all children, including orphans and other vulnerable children.
To achieve this objective, VVOB works with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, which is our strategic partner. The programme is being implemented by existing structures in the fourteen teacher training colleges and by the Department of Teacher Education (our operational partners).
VVOB supports the existing structures in teacher training colleges so that they support activities around policy development, staff development, primary education, student clubs, teacher training and organisational learning. More specifically, the programme reinforces existing structures within the system of teacher training that are crucial in addressing vulnerabilities.
The programme supports collaboration between students, teachers, administration and other partners.
Organic processes are built from elements that work well, which are then strengthened. What runs less smoothly, is discontinued. In this way, the programme can also respond to unforeseen opportunities.
Each process is approached in a bottom-up way and involves partners from the beginning. The VVOB team, mainly consisting of local advisors, supports processes of capacity development and change, whereby they strive for changing attitudes, vision and mind-set. The VVOB team is always looking to deliver processes to the partners, on condition that they are ready. The programme uses a low-cost approach and works as much as possible with teachers who are intrinsically motivated. Learning from and with partners is an essential part of the programme and the capacity development processes.
During the first phase of the programme (2008 – 2010) the following results were obtained:
- The 14 teacher training colleges have established Staff Development Committees. These are responsible for organising staff training. In 2010, more than 1000 teachers participated in staff trainings organised by the lectures and VVOB. These were related to environmental education, learning problems and behavioural choices, counselling skills and - through the early childhood education departments - staff development around early childhood education.
- Annually, an average of 7,000 teachers has been reached by workshops that are organised by the lecturers and are supported in the colleges. In these participatory workshops they work around themes as life skills, positive learning and nutrition, moving on, stigma and discrimination, gender and HIV/AIDS, cholera prevention and hygiene, and supporting of new members of student clubs (especially around HIV/AIDS). The teachers and lecturers who facilitate these workshops, are pre-trained in participatory methodologies and the development of training programmes.
- Some colleges take activities outside the college, and organise training for supervisors in the surrounding schools.
- A project on cholera and hygiene for school communities (2008-2009) reached 7,000 teachers and parents. It was focused on the experiences and current practices of the communities and teachers as well on alternative teaching methods.
- All the teacher training colleges have an active monitoring and evaluation system and are supported by the VVOB team to install reflection and learning moments.