World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-08-06

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

Developed in 1990, the Rationalisation of Vocational and Technical Education policy sets the framework for TVET in Zimbabwe. In 2005, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education published a review of the TVET system which outlines major challenges and makes recommendations for its improvement. The Report on the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy Review Framework (2005) also defines a number of parameters for a TVET policy review.

Faced with major economic and social challenges, the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe developed a Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) that advocates greater cooperation between public TVET programmes and income-generating projects. It also outlines Government plans to decentralise TVET to increase its relevance for the community.

TVET legislation

The Education Act No. 5/1987 is the main legal document guiding primary and secondary education in Zimbabwe. Amended in 1991 and 2004, it sets out the fundamental principles of education: abolition of racial discrimination, free and compulsory primary education, State support for literacy programmes and non-formal and adult education, decentralised management, and expansion of teacher education.

The Manpower Planning and Development Act: 28:02 of 1984 (amended in 1996) regulates the management, operation and maintenance of TVET institutions, universities, teachers’ colleges and vocational training schemes. The Act promotes human resource development, including apprenticeships and certification for skilled workers, establishes a training levy and outlines the functions of the National Manpower Advisory Board.

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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Zimbabwe. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

Primary education starts at the age of six and lasts for seven years. Secondary education is divided into two levels: a four-year ordinary and a two-year advanced level. In addition to the conventional subjects, students are required to take a minimum of two technical and vocational courses in the first two years of secondary education. Depending on their performance, they will consequently follow an academic or technical and vocational education path. Tertiary education is offered in vocational skills training centres, teachers’ colleges, Polytechnics, technical colleges and universities. TVET institutions offer skills training leading to a certificate, diploma, higher diploma and degrees. College courses last for two to four years while universties offer both full- and part-time diploma and degree courses.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

The majority of TVET is provided by both public and private institutions. Their quality and standards vary but their prevalence attests to the unmet demand for education and training in Zimbabwe.

Skill training is also provided through entreprise-based or on-the-job training. Companies train their employees in company-own training schools or provide in-house training by hiring external trainers who tailor their courses according to company needs. Companies acquiring new equipment often request their suppliers to provide necessary training for their employees to ensure their adequate skills in operating new machines.

Informal apprenticeships are the traditional form of skill training in Africa. Informal – unlike formal – apprenticeships are not covered by the Manpower Planning and Development Act and are therefore unregulated.

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3. Governance and financing


Education in Zimbabwe is administered by two Ministries: the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education (MHTE).

The Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture is responsible for early, primary and secondary education. It runs a number of secondary schools that offer technical and vocational courses.

The MHTE was established in 1988 and is in charge of higher and tertiary education and skill training. Within the MHTE, two divisions deal with TVET: the Division of Manpower Planning and Institutional Development, and the Division of Standards Development and Quality Assurance. The former is responsible for human resource planning and institutional development – particularly of Polytechnics. The latter develops skill training, standardises certifications and examinations.

The MHTE provides TVET thorough eight Polytechnics, two Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) and three state-assisted Vocational Training Centres. Additionally, the MHTE runs apprenticeship programmes.

Skill training is offered by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment; and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs Gender and Community Development. The Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture runs secondary schools that offer technical and vocational subjects, while the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare offers several nurse training schools. The majority of TVET institutions run by the MHTE are located in urban areas, while other ministries focus their TVET provision on rural areas.

The National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) is charged with making recommendations on human resource development and skill training and provides advice in the field.


The TVET system in Zimbabwe is funded through the following sources:

  • Government funding - Depending on the year’s revenue plan, public TVET institutions receive budget allocations which cover employment and operational costs, as well as funding for capital development projects. State-assisted TVET providers benefit from funding for employment costs, while private TVET institutions do not receive any public funding.
  • Student fees - Students pay their fees (tuition, examination fees, etc.) directly to the institution. Income generated through student fees is administered under the Tertiary Education Development Fund which is overseen by the Treasury. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from a tuition fee waiver that is awarded under the Cadetship Scheme which is part of the National Education Training Fund.
  • Income-generating activities - These activities are run internally by the TVET institutions and can comprise of different types of projects, saving schemes and investments.
  • Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) - The Fund provides TVET institutions with resources for training material and equipment, infrastructure improvement and expansion. Additionally, the Fund finances skill upgrade courses for semi-skilled workers and apprenticeship training. Funding is generated through a 1% training levy paid by employers from their monthly wage expenses.

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

Teacher-education colleges and universities are responsible for training future teachers for all education levels. Teacher-education colleges offer two- and three-year programmes depending on previous qualifications. Secondary teacher training colleges fall into two categories: academic and technical. Technical colleges require students to take one academic, one technical and a subject in the theory of education. Universities offer one-year certificates in education which can be acquired after a three-year degree programme.

The majority of teachers are untrained and lack appropriate qualifications for their position. Therefore, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with NGOs, offers in-service teacher training that aims to improve the quality of teaching. In-service training and self-improvement courses are not compulsory but are popular among untrained and trained teachers (UNESCO, 2010).

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zimbabwe committed to harmonising and standardising its TVET system with that of other Member States. Zimbabwe is therefore expected to formulate a qualification framework as a way of facilitating standardisation and transferability of qualifications. Accordingly, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education (MHTE) developed the Zimbabwe Examinations and Qualifications Framework (ZIMEQF) which is currently still in its draft form (2010).

The coordination and planning remains decentralised with the Higher Education and Examination Council (HEXCO) in charge of Polytechnics, Industrial Training Centres, Youth Training Centres, some secondary schools and private colleges. The Apprenticeship Authority (AA) is responsible for the certification of skilled workers and the Nurses Council oversees the certification of nurses under the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. A number of other Ministries ensure certification in their specific fields.

TVET is offered at five qualification levels:

  • Pre-Vocational Certificate (PVC);
  • National Foundation Certificate (NFC);
  • National Certificate (NC);
  • National Diploma (ND); and
  • Higher National Diploma (HND).
Quality assurance

Two bodies under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education (MHTE) are in charge of quality assurance at different levels.

The Directorate of Standards Development and Quality Assurance (SDEQA) assures the quality of TVET programmes and institutions through direct liaison with the industry, including NAMACO and its various industrial committees. The Directorate is also in charge of developing occupational standards through the Standards Development Research Unit (SDERU).

The Higher Education and Examination Council (HEXCO) is charged with controlling the quality of examinations, curricula, registration and accreditation of private TVET institutions. HEXCO cooperates with relevant stakeholders from the industry to ensure standards are set according to industry needs.

The NAMACO Watchdog Committee is also involved in monitoring TVET.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education (MHTE) is developing a draft plan for the establishment of the Zimbabwe Examinations & Qualifications Authority (ZIMEQA). ZIMEQA will serve as the main body facilitating mobility within the education system and promoting training career pathways. To this aim, a draft National Skills Policy was developed as a framework for harmonising standards in higher and tertiary education.

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

0 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
6.34 6.23
female male  
6.37 6.20
female male  

50.47 %

50.7 %

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision)

GDP per capita (currency: US$)













(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

  • Bulawayo Polytechnic
  • Gweru Polytechnic
  • Harare Polytechnic
  • Kushinga P. Polytechnic
  • Kwekwe Polytechnic
  • Masvingo Polytechnic
  • Mutare Polytechnic
  • School of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Joshua M. N. Polytechnic
  • Msasa Industrial College
  • Mupfure Self Help College
  • St Peters Kubatana Technology Centre
  • Westgate Industrial College

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading


  • HEXCO - Higher Education and Examination Council
  • ITC - Industrial Training Centre
  • MHTE - Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
  • NAMACO - National Manpower Advisory Council
  • SADC - Southern African Development Community
  • SDEQA - Directorate of Standards Development and Quality Assurance
  • ZIMDEF - Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund
  • ZIMEQF - Zimbabwe Examinations and Qualifications Framework
  • ZIMEQA - Zimbabwe Examinations & Qualifications Authority

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2012-08-06
Validated by: Mr Johnsai Tandi Dewah;
Director of Manpower Planning and Institutional Development;
Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education

page date 2017-05-05

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