Research seminar on Zimbabwe Longitudinal Study

This event took place on 28th January 2021.

From 2017 to 2020, CIDT was contracted by UNICEF in Zimbabwe to conduct a five-year nationwide longitudinal study into school survival. This event hosted by the Education Observatory features CIDT lead researcher Mary Surridge speaking about the project.


  • Introduction by Phil Dearden (5 minutes)
  • Presentation by Mary Surridge (30 – 40 mins)
  • Q&A and Discussion (20 mins)

About the study

The study, which followed a cohort of 3,800 learners from across the country, focused on the critically transition point from primary to secondary school and beyond in order to assess the key factors that led to learners remaining and succeeding in school or dropping out. It also continued tracking those who did drop out to analyse the pathways taken and the impact on their lives.

The study uncovered a wide range of interesting statistics and stories of determination and courage against all odds. The results have provided the Government of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with evidence to support its planning, policy shaping and expenditure on education. It highlights where and at what stage in the education cycle to prioritise spending in order to leverage the best results, particularly in terms of ensuring access to quality education for the most marginalised boys and girls. It has generated discussion about the role of government and communities in the education of the nation’s children

Mary Surridge, team leader for this work has been at CIDT for 30 years and has worked in 36 different countries during that time, mostly in education, gender and social inclusion. She joined the University in 1989 in what was then the Centre for Curriculum and Staff Development in the School of Education.

“I am currently doing Form 2 at M Secondary School. It is 17km away from home. I walk there every day leaving home early in the morning to ensure I get to school on time. School starts at 7:30am and for me to arrive by this time I must leave home around 3am. School finishes at 4pm then I walk back and usually get home around 8pm. I sleep for 4 to 5hours. The journey to and from school is indeed a bit scary as there are elephants in the area. I walk along with other children from my area who also attend the same school. We do meet elephants on our way to school and all we can do when we see them is run for safety. The elephants do chase us sometimes, but we are now used to that and when that happens we run as fast as we can so we do not become victims of the animals and still make it to school.”

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