Shifts in the qualifications structure of Zimbabwe following economic liberalisation


Policies of economic liberalisation introduced in Zimbabwe from 1990 have impacted on the country’s economic and employment structures. This report, part of a study into the effects of globalisation, examines the effect these changes have had on the qualifications structure of Zimbabwe.

The report outlines the nature and impacts of the situation in Zimbabwe prior to the reforms and evaluates the effects of economic liberalisation against the anticipated results. It finds that, in many instances, the changes were not those expected or sought from the programme of economic structural adjustment. The analysis of secondary data notes that:

  • as graduates have increasingly faced difficulties finding work in the formal labour market, courses with an entrepreneurial component have become more popular
  • contrary to expectations, the volume and type of vocational qualifications offered by foreign qualification bodies is lower than it was before economic liberalisation. This may be because of the high number of domestic institutions that opened during the 1990s, or because of the risks and barriers faced by foreign investors
  • there has been an increase in partnership arrangements with foreign providers of qualifications
    the pressures to attain higher qualifications intensified after liberalisation, contributing to the increase in demand for places in institutions of further and higher education
  • the demand for personnel with specialist knowledge in technological and commercial areas has increased, increasing demand and supply of courses providing such skills
  • industrial manufacturing and the commercial sectors are now seeking workers with higher skills than were previously required
  • a high number of professionals and other qualified people have left Zimbabwe to seek employment opportunities in countries with stronger economies.


Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Report Number 17, 23 pp.

Shifts in the qualifications structure of Zimbabwe following economic liberalisation

Published 1 January 2005