• 20 Feb, 2024
  • United Zimbabwe Alliance

The State of Tertiary Education Institutions in Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe strides towards a brighter future, the role of tertiary education institutions in shaping the nation's intellectual capital is becoming increasingly crucial. The United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) has reviewed the current state of tertiary education in Zimbabwe and herein highlights both achievements and challenges, with a focus on the party's vision for reform.


Zimbabwe boasts a number of well-established universities and colleges, contributing significantly to the development of human capital. These institutions have produced graduates who have excelled both nationally and internationally, showcasing the historic quality of education in the country. 

Furthermore, efforts have been made to enhance inclusivity in tertiary education, through initiatives to increase enrollment rates and provide financial assistance to underprivileged students. Also noteworthy is the commitment to promoting gender equality and diversity within these institutions. 


Despite the achievements, Zimbabwe's tertiary education sector faces a myriad of challenges that demand urgent attention. Education stands as the cornerstone of development, furnishing a fundamental bedrock for comprehending diverse industries. In Zimbabwe, tertiary education assumes a pivotal role in molding professionals and impacting industrial productivity. Nonetheless, persistent challenges loom large, encompassing issues such as educational quality, infrastructure preparedness, alignment with industry needs, educator well-being, availability of funding, and institutional integrity. 

The country faces concerns over the outdated knowledge system, out of sync with the dynamics of the Fourth Industrial Technological Revolution. The need for systemic change requires well-defined short to long-term policy outlines tailored to the local learning context. We call for an overhaul of current infrastructure, incorporating the necessary technologies and resources, as well as fostering internalization of industrial activities within learning institutions to produce professionals aligned with industry needs and innovation architects.

Focusing on global industry compatibility is critical and requires efforts to bridge the gap between graduates and industry needs. The United Zimbabwe Alliance recognizes the pivotal role of education in national development and is committed to strategic reforms, increased funding, and a commitment to excellence. These initiatives aim to rejuvenate Zimbabwe's tertiary education system for the collective benefit of its citizens and a more promising future.

The need to address industrial compatibility is underscored, particularly when viewed in the context of our global standing. Annually, our educational institutions produce graduates who are at risk of unemployment, armed with skills that are rapidly becoming obsolete in the age of artificial intelligence and machine systems. In addition, the current learning environment falls short in nurturing entrepreneurial spirit among students, exacerbating the problem of unemployment. Therefore, a fundamental transformation of our educational institutions is vital, emphasizing "professional excellence" over mere "academic pilgrimages" and empowering them to drive development in line with global trends and demands.

The educator’s plight has long been overlooked, leading to the erosion of respect for this esteemed profession within our society. The effectiveness of education delivery systems suffers greatly as the teaching workforce grapples with demotivation due to inadequate salaries that fall below acceptable standards. This disparity results in educators feeling undervalued, leading to lack of commitment, high turnover rates, and even resorting to supplementary activities to make ends meet. In addressing the challenges facing the education sector, UZA highlights the critical importance of providing fair compensation and additional benefits to educators. By restoring dignity to educators and recognizing their central role in shaping the future, we can create an environment in which educators are empowered to deliver the quality education our society deserves.

The education sector requires priority funding, however the slow progress suggests that the government is still a long way from implementing the crucial systemic upgrades needed within the learning environment. Inadequate funding has led to infrastructure decay, outdated equipment, and a shortage of qualified educators. This has jeopardized the quality of education and research output, and hindered the nation's progress.

Moreover, the brain drain, where qualified professionals leave the country for better opportunities abroad, poses a significant threat to the sustainability of tertiary institutions. Retaining top-tier talent is essential for fostering a culture of excellence and advancing Zimbabwe's academic standing on the global stage.

Furthermore, the accessibility of education in rural areas remains a concern as there are limited resources and educational facilities available to students in these regions. Bridging the urban-rural education gap is critical to ensuring equal opportunities for all Zimbabweans.


UZA vision for reform:

The United Zimbabwe Alliance strives for a reinvigorated tertiary education system that aligns with the aspirations of a modern and progressive Zimbabwe. The party is committed to addressing the challenges faced by higher education institutions through a multi-pronged approach:

  • Increased Funding: When in Government, UZA commits to allocating a higher percentage of the national budget to tertiary education, to ensure adequate resources available for development of state-of-the-art infrastructure development, cutting-edge research facilities, and competitive salaries for academic staff.

  •  Talent Retention: UZA will implement policies to encourage qualified professionals to remain in Zimbabwe by offering attractive incentives, fostering a conducive research environment, and promoting collaborations with international institutions.

  •  Inclusivity and Access: UZA is committed to implementing targeted programs to improve accessibility to tertiary education in rural areas, provide scholarships, and address gender disparities within academic institutions.

  • Curriculum Relevance: UZA will work to adapt higher education curricula to the needs of a rapidly evolving labour market, and ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills required for national development.