Zimbabwe as a nation believes in education for all. Systems are in place to ensure everyone has access to education. This paper will examine the structure of the Zimbabwean education system, highlighting problems which may arise because of its nature, and attempt to give solutions.
Two terms, education system and organizational structure, are defined.
Definition of terms
According to Wikipedia,
‘’Education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual and in its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to another through institutions’’.
Wikipedia also defines a system as integrated an 'integrated whole' which has a structure, behaviour, interconnectivity of various parts which ‘’ have functional as well as structural relationships between each other’’. The term system may also refer to a set of rules that governs behavior or structure.
Education system therefore refers to the structure and behaviour as well as functionality of the entity through which children acquire knowledge, values and skills through a formalized set-up.
Structure is, according to wikipedia, a fundamental and sometimes intangible notion covering the recognition, observation, nature, and stability of patterns and relationships of entities. A structure defines what a system is made of. It is a configuration of items. It is a collection of inter-related components or services. The structure may be a hierarchy (a cascade of one-to-many relationships) or a network featuring many-to-many relationships.
Organisational structure therefore refers to the nature, patterns and relationships within an entity or social arrangement.
Nature of the Zimbabwean education system:
Structure: The Zimbabwean education system is a bureaucratic system, which has a hierarchical governing structure which goes from the top to the bottom. The hierarchy begins at the head office where the Permanent Secretary and his team of directors are housed. The Permanent Secretary, is the senior civil servant, and reports to the Minister, who is a politician and is in charge of policy making. The directors are in charge of the various elements within the system, such as quality control, administration, curriculum and human resources. Below the national, is the provincial level, whose hierarchy is headed by the Provincial Education Director (PED). He has two deputies, one in charge of Quality Assurance and the other of Professional Administration. There are several provincial level education officers below them. The provincial office also houses other professionals in finance and other departments who report to the PED.
At the district level, the District Education Officer (DEO) heads a team of Education Officers (EO)s who supervise education activities within the district. At school level, the head is in charge of the school, and is deputized by the deputy head. Teachers fall below him but they too have seniority levels. This body at school level is responsible for the direct teaching of the child. Other ancillary staff falls below the professionals at school level but report to the head or whoever is assigned, by the head, in the finance office.
Having completed primary education, which includes early childhood elementary education, children graduate automatically into secondary school, where they are required to complete four years of schooling leading to an Ordinary Level pass. If successful at this level, they can proceed to high school where they attain Advanced Level passes and proceed to university, or choose to go to other...