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Free Education from 2023: Mere Political Rhetoric - PTUZ

Free Education from 2023: Mere Political Rhetoric - PTUZ

The president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Dr Takavafira Zhou has dismissed the government’s announcement of intentions to make education free by 2023 as mere political rhetoric. In a statement seen by Pindula News, Zhou said the number of learners enrolling for education will make it impossible for the government to implement the policy. He said:

Free Education from 2023: Mere Political Rhetoric

11 July 2022

This epistle is a product of historical analysis, coloured by educational taxonomy and must never be associated with any organisation or political party. It is informed by nothing other than the truth and a desire to build a credible system of quality public education that can enhance sustainable development in Zimbabwe. President Mnangagwa has recently made a public declaration that the govt will provide free basic education with effect from 2023, in line with the constitutional (2013) dictates and the National Vision. This has been regurgitated by the public media and political players without any rigorous analysis of the implications thereto. The Sunday Mail (10 Julyv2022) peddled what it called ‘Free Education Roll-Out for Next Year (2023).’

Fundamentally, there are 4 642 028 pupils enrolled in 10 147 schools (7081 primary and 7f3066 secondary) nationally. There are three categories of schools according to grant type classification as determined by the per capita grant allocation to schools by the govt, namely:

P1 and S1 schools: include schools in low-density areas and some elite boarding schools regardless of location;

P2 and S2 schools: these are schools in urban high-density areas, including govt schools, church-based boarding schools located in rural areas; and

P3 and S3 schools: These are rural schools.

Over the past four years, pupil enrolments have increased by 2% each year across the board. Consequently, total enrolments for primary schools are expected to increase from 3 594 884 in 2022 to 3 665 782 in 2023, while enrolments in secondary schools would increase from 1 109 385 in 2022 to 1 131 573 in 2023.

Evidence-based analysis has shown that each primary and secondary school pupil need US$30.00 and US$50.00 per term, respectively for schools to function efficiently, effectively, and provide inclusive, equitable and quality education. As such, nationally, govt would need a total of US$10 9973 460 per term for primary school pupils, and US$56 578 650 for secondary school pupils. The total demand per term in 2023 would be US$166 552110 if every pupil gets a free basic education.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to realise the impossibility of govt meeting this feat, more so given the Second Republic’s pursuit of neo-liberal policies. Arguably, the call for free education is nothing more than political banter and homiletic bellicose. We have heard this political expediency before (in 2018) and nothing materialised after the elections.

This is not to say free education cannot be realised in Zimbabwe, but only to say you cannot solve a problem with the same type of intelligence that has produced the problem. There is, therefore, need for a total paradigm shift from the current poverty of leadership, and announcing reforms at the spar of a moment without proper planning and consultations with professionals in a relevant area is empty and blind. In its present form, the declaration for free education is nothing more than a tissue of misrepresentation or pulling cotton on the public eye in order to attract votes for the ruling party, Zanu pf in 2023 elections. There is no evidence that there has been any educational and financial taxonomy that informed the President’s declaration. The President lacks appropriate advice and his ill-conceived declaration has everything to do with 2023 elections, and therefore has no traction.

It is indeed imperative that access to inclusive, equitable and quality public education must reach underserved and disadvantaged communities. Govt must move to treat education as a right to its citizens and not a preserve of the rich. Yet sound as this may, the truth remains that the parasitic and predatory militarised elites that run the country aided by a bureaucratic bourgeoise who raid and empty state coffers under neo-liberalism will not be able to make basic education free for everyone in 2023 or anytime thereafter if they remain in power. There is a need for a paradigm shift from their neo-liberalism and current cold and calculated educational vandalism. There is need to address high-profile corruption that has become routine rather than episodic, let alone engage in win-win investments, and process of raw materials locally, rekitting our ailing industries so that we have a balance between import and export. Patronage, clientelism, cronyism and lackeyism are also a liability. It is only through responsible leadership, tapping and harnessing of our human and natural resources, and appropriate economic and financial policies that Zimbabwe can generate enough revenue to support free education. Without such an enabling environment free education will remain a mirage.


Dr Takavafira M. Zhou, PTUZ President

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》》》 2 months ago

Just like everything else that zanu has attempted to accomplish, the "free education " project WILL NOT WORK!

factos 2 months ago

only ccc government can attain that

Dr Mahere 2 months ago

It is very possible if the resources are made available

Rich guy 2 months ago

It has failed to do the littlest thing of motivating TRS thru monetary benefits so my question is how will this so-called free EDN succeed in such a harsh economy,??? Overzealous ambitions!!!

Pseudo 2 months ago


cde bondnote 2 months ago

mu Zimba here? Kungoitisana basi

kkkkk 2 months ago

ko 2023 kure here? kkkk paseri apa toona zvikoro zvavhurwa jan
God bress pumura


mimo 2 months ago

aaa hoo

pp 2 months ago


. 2 months ago

ko yema tittle deeds yapapi gara zviya

Oskid 2 months ago

Munhu akakwana haabvumi nhema dzakadero Vote CCC Zimbabwe wil prosper again like Zambia a good example

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