Education and the Development Agenda: An Analysis of Factors Influencing Primary School Learners’ Outcomes in Hwange and Binga Districts, Zimbabwe
Keywords:academic performance, human capital, education and development, infrastructure, library, qualified teachers
This article reports on a study which focused on analysing factors that influence primary school learners’ outcomes in Hwange and Binga districts, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. Education policies that have been implemented by the government of Zimbabwe guided the philosophy underpinning the study. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the research methodology. The study participants were selected through purposive sampling of schools with a zero pass rate in the Hwange and Binga districts. School authorities that responded to the semi-structured interview were purposively sampled by focusing on the school heads and the Grade 7 teachers. The learners who participated in the focus group discussions were randomly assigned to the sample making use of the school attendance registers and limiting the focus group discussions to a maximum of six participants per school. The findings revealed that the challenges that affect learners’ academic performance include the shortage of textbooks in the newly introduced learning areas; the poor infrastructure in schools; and the low motivation of teachers. One of the recommendations of the study was that local gatekeepers should engage in community awareness campaigns aimed at educating communities on the importance of education for children and advocating for the legislation of punitive policies that will see parents who unnecessarily absent their children from school being punished.