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Situation analysis of the early childhood development (ECD) programme in rural primary schools in Zimbabwe

Patrick Sibanda


Early childhood development (ECD) programmes the world over have been found to be central in the successful holistic development and positive future socioeconomic outcomes for young children. In Africa in general and in Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, these programmes have been punctuated by overwhelming challenges related to poor funding and paucity of resources as well as vague policy models. The purpose of this study was to undertake a situation analysis of the ECD programme in rural primary schools in Zimbabwe. The study, which was premised on the positivist philosophy was therefore quantitative and utilized the descriptive survey design. A sample of 100 teachers was generated across 10 districts in 5 of the rural provinces of Zimbabwe using two stage sampling comprising purposive and randomization strategies in that order. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit data and was in certain instances, triangulated with observation. The study revealed that there was either constrained or total lack of funding of the ECD programme in rural schools in Zimbabwe, lack of government support and that the programme was not overly accessible to all children more so to those with disabilities. Meanwhile, policy guidelines were either unavailable in the rural primary schools or not religiously adhered to. The study then concluded that the ECD programme in rural primary schools in Zimbabwe was greatly compromised casting doubt on its quality and effectiveness. It was also concluded that the programme might have excluded many poor and disabled children in rural settings. On these bases the study recommended increased funding, resourcing and capacity building and advocated for policy review to ensure accommodation of the needs of children with disabilities and adoption of firmer enforcement procedures. In the ultimate, the study recommended further studies of national dimension, which should target mostly at rural settings.


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