Youth Aspirations in Zimbabwe following Economic Liberalisation


How has economic liberalisation affected young Zimbabweans’ aspirations with regard to education and work? This paper examines this question through using household interviews to compare young people’s aspirations with the recollected aspirations of their parents.

Results are disaggregated by the residence of respondents, gender and occupation, and show that:

  • young people aspired to a wide variety of careers, including engineering, medical professions, accounting and teaching
  • 40 percent of young people expressed a desire to work abroad, compared with only 6 percent of parents
  • around two-thirds of young people aspired to university qualifications
  • 94 percent of young people indicated that they would prefer to be self-employed
  • economic liberalisation has resulted in the introduction of fees that are prohibitive for poorer groups
  • parents increasingly pay for additional tuition for their children, especially those from higher-level occupations
  • the educational aspirations of youths were therefore consistently high, irrespective of their socio-economic status
  • aspirations among young people in commercial farming and mining communities, were much lower than those of youths from the urban medium and low density areas.


Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Report Number 18, 39 pp.

Youth Aspirations in Zimbabwe following Economic Liberalisation

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