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Education in Zimbabwe is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for primary and secondary education and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development for higher education. Both are regulated by the Cabinet of Zimbabwe.
The education system in Zimbabwe encompasses 13 years of primary and secondary school and runs from January to December. The school year is a total of 40 weeks with three terms and a month break in-between each term. The education system in Zimbabwe has a two year pre-primary level with entry age being three years. This starting point is called Early Childhood Development (ECD) and was instituted as a policy in 2004 directed at all primary schools in order to insert at least two ECD classes for children named ECD A and B.
The preceding phase is the primary level which takes seven years to complete encompassing Grades 1 to 7 with national exams written at the end of Grade Seven. In this level students are taught five subjects Mathematics, English, Content, Agriculture and a native language depending on location of school. There are two major native languages in Zimbabwe being Shona and Ndebele. In addition to these there are 14 more languages that are spoken by a few people but have their own examinations set, these are Chewa. Chibarwe, Kalanga, Tsoa, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa. The grade seven results determine the class that will be allocated to you at secondary school.
After this there is the secondary level, which has six years. This level has three stages Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC) level, Ordinary level and Advanced level. Students have the choice to choose the subjects they want to study, with a minimum of five subjects. Of these subjects Mathematics English and Shona are mandatory. In addition to these students are expected to have a practical subject from this list: Food and Nutrition, Fashion and Fabrics, Music, Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Graphics and Agriculture.
At Ordinary level students write examinations which determine their fate in either Advanced level or tertiary level. Subjects passed determine the subjects one will study at Advanced level and hence the program they will study at tertiary level. Students also have the choice to study towards certificates and diplomas without reaching Advanced level.
After Advanced level students can now go for study towards an undergraduate degree of their choice and number of years depends on program and it ranges from three to seven years. And some programs have industrial attachment where students get the chance to apply concepts learnt from the past two years. After this level there is the Masters and PHD levels and these are optional to individuals.
In conclusion it takes a minimum of 24 years for an individual to start from pre-primary level to get an undergraduate degree.