Nonformal education in Zimbabwe includes instruction provided outside of the regular educational schools and often includes correspondence courses, adult literacy campaigns, night school, and study groups. Residents who take advantage of nonformal education opportunities include those who are unable to access the formal educational system for various reasons. Generally the programs used are similar to those offered in a formal education setting, and they cover elementary education all the way up to tertiary education. Many people are unable to pursue further study due to marriage, pregnancy, or rural living conditions, while those who dropped out of school may find that they prefer nonformal education. That is especially true for dropouts who live in or near cities, where the infrastructure exists to promote further education, such as the availability of electricity to home study at night.
Although the national government is involved in nonformal education, municipal governments, churches, and other private sector NGOs carry out the bulk of the responsibility. Health education, cooking, and art are often taught to women in the afternoons in various centers throughout the country, especially in the cities.
Zimbabwe's literacy campaigns have yielded negligible results (Grainger). Literacy, particularly for Zimbabwean women and girls, is important not only because it narrows the gap between the type of educational opportunities men have and those women have, but also because it has been shown to improve women's health and to create sustainable economic and social development. Education increases women's productivity, which provides a direct contribution to the economy. More significantly, education increases a woman's self-esteem and her economic and political power, improves health and nutrition awareness, and reduces child birth and death rates and leads to improved child immunization.
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