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Widening access in higher education in Zimbabwe

Kariwo, Michael Tonderai

Higher education in Zimbabwe is undergoing changes mainly because of the rapid expansion that started in 1999. The current situation is that higher education is going through a series of crises due to the fact that government subventions are diminishing in real terms as a result of the decline in economic growth, yet at the same time, student enrolments are increasing very rapidly due to increasing demand for tertiary education. Universities are critical to the development of any nation. In the developing countries, they are often the only institutions with the capacity for the development of high-skilled manpower, technology transfer and generation of new knowledge. With increasing globalization, it is natural that when such institutions are in a state of decline or stagnation, research and international attention come to the forefront. This paper reviews the development of higher education in Zimbabwe with a particular focus on universities, as the country moves from an elite to a ‘mass’ education system. It critically analyses the factors impacting on access and the quality of higher education before drawing conclusions. As resources become scarce there is a tendency for political intervention in the resource allocation process. The paper argues for the adoption of a transparent formula for allocating resources under a supportive higher education policy framework. It postulates, as a way forward, that the ultimate goal for improving efficiency and effectiveness in African higher education lies in a transparent formula for resource allocation that rewards performance, not withstanding, adequate public funding.

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Document Title: Widening access in higher education in Zimbabwe
Journal: Higher Education Policy
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
No. of Pages: 45-59

Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Keywords:Access to Higher Education, Funding, Resources, State and Higher Education, Economic Issues

File Size:118 KB
Rights:This paper is freely available at doi:10.1057/palgrave.hep.8300142
Date Added:10 January 2008

Kariwo, Michael Tonderai (2007). Widening access in higher education in Zimbabwe, Higher Education Policy 20(1):45-59