A GLOBAL study has ranked Zimbabwe’s education as one of the most expensive, which is leading to a rise in school dropouts.

The report by World Remit 2022 Cost of School says the price of education in Zimbabwe is six times more than the total average income for any family.

“To advance this annual study, World Remit observed 11 new countries, looking at the standard school supply costs. Of these, Zimbabwe showed the highest costs relative to average family size and monthly income at nearly 700% of the average family household income,” the report read in part.

“In Zimbabwe, costs to send a household of children to school this year will (be) more than six times the average household income for a given family. In

Cameroon, costs for sending a household of children to school this year will cost families nearly four times their monthly income.”

A total of 21 countries were surveyed. Countries which were surveyed in Africa include Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Ghana and Kenya.

The study was launched in August last year in fewer countries before the list was stretched to 21, including Zimbabwe.

The survey results are a slap in the face of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who promised free education as one of his 2018 election pledges.

When contacted for comment, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Edgar Moyo said: “To me, that would be like a rumour. For me to comment on a rumour would not be ethical. They need to get correct statistics from our planning department.”

Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu could not be reached for comment.

Latest findings by the Union of Education Norway in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Teachers Association showed that the country has recorded an increase in school dropouts as parents struggle to make ends meet.

The unions predicted that there would be a huge dropout rate this year owing to the harsh economic climate, while government has also given schools the greenlight to charge fees in foreign currency.

“Registration for public examinations also went down. In 2017, only 319 students dropped out, but in 2021, there were about 156 000 dropouts. We expect a rise again this year. This is because of poverty, parents can’t afford to pay anymore,” the unions said in their findings.

In its 2021 human rights report released in April this year, the US government posited an even higher number, estimating that 840 000 children, dropped out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Official statistics showed that more than half of students eligible to write examinations last year failed to register because of lack of money.

Source Newsday