This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the girlchild affirmative action policy in secondary schools in Zimbabwe using Christian and Ndarama high schools as case studies. Both theoretical study and empirical research methods were used to ensure a balanced evaluation of the problem. Ninety nine of the 230 Form six students at the two schools were used as questionnaire respondents, and 2 focal point teachers of the 20 A level teachers at the schools were sampled for the interviews. Case study, descriptive survey and qualitative participatory approaches were used as the main research methodologies. The study established that male students are more than female students in all advanced level disciplines studied at the schools; both male and female students do not support the idea of affirmative action in their schools; authorities are not doing enough to conscientise both teachers and their students on the need for affirmative action in schools; the affirmative action policy is not being implemented in secondary schools in Zimbabwe and thus the policy is not yet effective in meeting the desired goals. The main challenge faced by secondary schools in the implementation of affirmative action was found to be mainly the issue of negative attitudes towards affirmative action. Entering school at lower points than boys reinforces the idea that women are academically weaker than men. The study recommends intensive awareness campaigns and advocacy to remove negative attitudes towards affirmative action; formal training sessions on affirmative action in the schools to help students contextualize the concept of affirmative action; government monitoring and follow-ups to ensure that the affirmative action policy is being implemented; among other recommendations.
The overall aim of this study is to contribute a theoretical framework that will help towards the implementation of the affirmative action policy in Zimbabwean high schools. The study aims at enlarging considerably the knowledge base and understanding of the affirmative action policy in Zimbabwe.
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