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Robert Mugabe Turning Most Literate Nation In Africa Upside Down

August 25, 2009

It is not as if this was not predicted.

Robert Mugabe is one of the most  wretched and disruptive leaders in the world today.  I place his name alongside  Sudan’s al-Bashir,  and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il  for being a major source of concern for the regions they inflict their pain on.    The latest evidence of his disregard for shaping policy, or addressing public needs comes from the classrooms in Zimbabwe.

Six months into Zimbabwe’s unity government, this classroom on the outskirts of the capital is typical of schools in a country that once boasted one of Africa’s best education systems.

Without supplies, schools are having to improvise to keep their classes running, after thousands of teachers fled due to economic hardship and the political violence of the last year.

“If you look at textbooks for example, ideally each pupil should have their own textbook or share at a ratio of one textbook for three pupils,” Madosi said.

“But we have a situation where seven and in some cases 12 pupils share one book. In the worst cases, some textbooks are just not available — or only the teacher has a personal copy.

“In the end the teacher spends most of his time doing clerical work, that is, copying exercises and writing on the board.”

The crisis in Zimbabwe‘s state-run schools threatens the country’s status as one of the most literate societies on the continent. It is one of the biggest challenges facing the six-month-old unity government.

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