Zimbabwe still has highest literacy rate in Africa: Survey

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ABOUT 25 percent of the school-going population aged between three and 24 years in Zimbabwe drop out of school with a majority being girls, statistics from the recent Inter-Censal Demographic Survey (ICDS) show.

The survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), officially launched last week also shows that the country’s literacy rate stands at 94 percent — the highest in Africa.  However, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces have the highest number of people who have never been to school.

“In Zimbabwe there are equal proportions of males and females who have never been to school and there are slightly more males than females in school. Among those who have left school, there are more females than males and the same is observed towards higher levels of education,” reads the report.

Data from the 2017 ICDS on education reveals that 12 percent of the population age 3-24 years have never been to school.

“Of the total population education age 3-24 years, 27 percent have left school where the proportion for males is 23 percent. For females the rate stands at 27 percent,” it says.

According to the study, about 63 percent of the school-going population are attending school.

“About 12 percent had never been to school and the highest proportions are in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces. The majority of those never been to school are 5 years and below,” reads the ICDS.

The survey was conducted by Zimstat from 18-23 August 2017, with technical, financial and material support from UNFPA, Unicef and International Organisation for Migration.

“The 2017 ICDS results could not have come at a better time than now when there are a number of national development processes which require baseline and updated data, such as the preparation of the successor programme to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), mid-term review of the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) for the period 2016-2020, annual review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the joint assessments in line with the country’s re-engagement thrust with the international community,” said UNFPA country representative Dr Esther Muia.