World Vision Supports Education Development in Hwange District, Zimbabwe

A learner at St Mary's Primary School in Hwange, Zimbabwe during ICT lessons
A learner at St Mary's Primary School in Hwange, Zimbabwe during ICT lessons.
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

In 2019, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council reported that a high number of primary schools, especially in rural areas, recorded a zero-percentage pass rate. Some of the worst performing schools are from Matabeleland South, where we find St Mary’s Primary School. Coupled with the digital divide between urban and rural schools, many of the most vulnerable children never have a chance in a highly digitalized world.

"When I grow up I want to be a computer engineer," is what one of the young boys tells us when we visit St Mary’s Primary School. The headmistress welcomes us and informs us that World Vision helped the school to get “a GIANT computer system”. She goes on to say that this ecosystem has material and resources for every subject from the entry primary level (referred to as ECD) all the way up to the Tertiary level.

"The ecosystem is so massive, it has resources on all subjects from ECD up to tertiary level, and it is connected to the computers. Teachers have tablets which are also connected to the ecosystem and each class has 42-inch televisions which teachers use to deliver their lessons. We no longer write on the board." - Mrs Nyoni - Headmistress, St Mary’s Primary School, Hwange.

A tour of the computer lab leaves us quite impressed. Grade three learners were going through their computer lesson as we watched in admiration as they took turns to show us what the ecosystem- computer system was capable of doing.

Mrs. Sibanda, one of the teachers at the school spoke about the positive changes that have happened since the ecosystem was installed at the school. She told us how the pass rate rose from 50% to 70% between 2018 and 2022. She went on to say the enrolment figures also surged from 800 in 2017 to just beyond 1000 currently. Some learners are willing to travel as far as 12 kilometers to enroll at St Mary’s Primary School, although they have been discouraging this.

"If only this system could be set up at all schools, this will benefit teachers and learners. It is even scary for us teachers to think of transferring from St Mary’s to any other school. We are grateful to World Vision for setting up this system and the impact this has had on our learners is remarkable, we are particularly sad for our learners who graduate from St Mary’s Primary School and leave for secondary where there are no similar resources."Mrs Sibanda, Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School, Hwange District, Zimbabwe.

The words of one of the teachers move with us as we drive out of the school- “Thanks to World Vision, we now have many of the children here dreaming of one-day becoming engineers, scientists and computer specialists!” Although the area has nothing more than sand, dry grass and not much to look forward to for most growing up here…there is some HOPE for these children in a highly digitalized world!