Zimbabwe High Schools Structure

Find High Schools
  • Duration of study: 4 years (O level), and 2 years (A level)
  • Ages: 13- 18 years
  • Levels: O level and A level
  • Primary Languages: English, Ndebele, and Shona
  • Other languages: Venda, Sotho, Nambya, Kalanga, Tonga (depending on the location)
  • Tuition Range: ZWL$1000-ZWL$3000 per term (Government Centres)
  • Terms : 3 (1st term- January to early April, 2nd Term- May to August, and 3rd Term September to December)
  • Admission Term: 1st Term (January)

Zimbabwe’s high school education system is similar to the British system of education. Students sit for the General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level), which is equivalent to the Cambridge University General Certificate at the end of four years of secondary education. After ‘O’ Level, successful students can proceed to do a two-year General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level). Students start from form 1 upon acquiring a grade 7 certificate, after then, there is automatic progression to each level up to form 4.

In simpler terms, upon completion of from 1, students will move on to form 2, 3, and finally form 4, which is the examination level. Zimbabwe used to have a ZJC certificate which determined progression into ordinary level but was phased out. ZJC was for form 1 and form 2 then on obtaining the certificate, the student would move on to form 3.

General Certificate of Education- O level

O level in Zimbabwe encompasses form 3 and form 4. Preparation for the ordinary level examination starts in the form three-level. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) set 10 subjects as the maximum number that students are required to sit for Ordinary Levels with 7 of them set as compulsory subjects. Mandatory subjects include Mathematics, English Language, General Science, Indigenous Languages, Agriculture, Physical Education, Sport, and Mass Display and Heritage Studies. Additional subjects Computer Science, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Additional Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Statistics, History, Commerce, Economics, Principles of Accounts, Design, and Technology, Food Technology, Metal Technology and Design, Wood technology and Design, Home Management and Design and Technical Graphics and Design, to mention but a few.

The Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC) is the examining body for local examinations. It is a parastatal under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, responsible for the administration of public examinations in Zimbabwean schools. The certificate is equivalent to the General Certificate of Education Standard offered in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, and other English-speaking countries. The General Certificate of Education at Ordinary Level is comparable to UK GCSE grade A-C / 9 – 4 provided grade A-C is achieved. GCE stands for the General Certificate Education and GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.

IGCSE O-Level-International General Certificate of Secondary Education in Zimbabwe is awarded by the University of Cambridge. Some various private highs schools and colleges offer O-level registration for Cambridge qualifications. Some of these include Dominican Convent, Gateway Schools, Heritage School, Hellenic Academy, Maratha Christian High School, Speciss College, and Westridge High School, to mention but a few. IGCSE stands for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is offered by Cambridge and is meant for students in overseas countries whose main language is not English.

General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level)

Advanced level in Zimbabwe encompasses 2 years of study, Form 5 (also known as lower 6), and Form 6 (also known as Upper 6). Students take a final examination to complete an A level and this will determine whether the student will proceed to University or not. Continuation to University from A level requires students to have a minimum of 2 A level passes. ZIMSEC General Certificate of Education Advanced Level is the school leaving qualification conferred to pupils completing secondary or pre-university education.

The Advanced Level Syllabus in Zimbabwe public schools consists of subjects including Accounting, Economics, Business Studies, Geography, Literature in English, Biology, Agriculture, Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Mathematics, Indigenous languages, Foreign Languages, Sports Management, Horticulture, Family and Religious Studies, Computer Science, Crop Science, to mention but a few.

In public secondary schools, fees are pegged by the Government for both urban and rural secondary schools. Parents and guardians may expect to pay other additional charges depending on the school. Zimbabwe has several public, independent, or private schools with public funding for the salaries of teachers. Students can choose between public, mission, or private schools. Private schools are often more expensive than public schools.

Examples of International High School in Zimbabwe.

International schools are the perfect solution for international students in Zimbabwe. These are most preferred by ex-pat students including multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, and NGO staff in Zimbabwe. The schools also enroll local students but are geared for an international student body, usually following a curriculum model from the US, UK, or France. Some of these include:

Arundel School

This is a private, day and boarding school for girls aged 12–18 and a member of the ATS and CHISZ. Details are as follows

  • Established: 1955
  • Address: Arundel School Rd, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Student Population: 500+
  • Ranking: #48 out of 100 best high schools (quality of education, student engagement, strength and activities of alumnae)
  • Memberships: Association of Trust Schools (ATS)
  • Tuition Fees Range: $2 945 – 4 755 per term

Subjects offered here include Accounting, Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama, English Language, English Literature, Environmental Management, French, Geography, History, Applied ICT, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics and Thinking Skills. Upon completion, students have the opportunity to proceed to Yale, Harvard, Bristol University, University College London (UCL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Oxford University, University of Cape Town, and the Swiss Alliance of Hospitality Management Schools, to mention but a few.

Students can also take part in several sporting activities including Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cross Country, Diving, Hockey, Indoor Hockey, Rowing, Soccer, Swimming, Squash, Tennis, and Volleyball, to mention but a few. They can also join any of the clubs including Art, Craft and Design, Art and Literary Appreciation, Health and Education, Bridge, Business Awareness, Chess, Computers, Debate, Drama, Environment and Wildlife, Floral Art, First Aid, Interact club, Maths Olympiad, Primoris Alliance, Public Speaking, Science club, Scientia and Taurayi Zenith, to mention but a few.

Chisipite Senior School

An inter-denominational private girls school in Chisipite, Harare. Details are as follows:

  • Established: 1954
  • Address: Hindhead Ave, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Tuition Range: US$2 690.00+ (day students), and US$4 560.00+ (boarding students)
  • Student Population: 602+
  • Campus: Suburban
  • Ranking: Top 10 high schools in Zimbabwe, #67th out of the top 100 best high schools in Africa (Almanac, 2003)
  • Membership: Association of Trust Schools (ATS), the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia, Conference of Heads of Independent Schools in Zimbabwe (CHISZ).

Facilities found here include twelve tennis courts, two squash courts, three basketball, courts, three indoor hockey pitches, three volleyball courts, field facilities for hockey and soccer fields, and a swimming pool suitable for water polo and synchronized swimming, to mention but a few. The school offers a variety of sporting activities including athletics, basketball, cross country, field hockey, indoor hockey, rowing, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and water polo.

Gateway High School

This is a co-educational Christian, independent school catering caters to students from Form 1 to Upper 6. The school prepares students for the Cambridge IGCSE and A-Level examinations. It is a member of the ATS and CHISZ. The school admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin.

  • Founded: 1991
  • Address: Golden Stairs Rd, Emerald Hill, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Student Population: 600+
  • Tuition Rates: US$2 095+ (Forms 1-4), and US$2 160+ (Forms 5-6)
  • Membership: ATS and CHISZ

Peterhouse Boys School

An independent, boarding high school for boys in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe. The school is a Cambridge international school and caters to students from pre-school to tertiary education.

  • Founded: 1955
  • Student Population: 450
  • Address: P Bag 3741, Marondera, Zimbabwe
  • Tuition Range: US$4 350+
  • Membership: ATS, CHISZ and HMC.

Westridge High School

An independent Cambridge, day school catering to students in Form One to Form 6. It follows the traditional Zimbabwean-British system of education in which examinations are administered at both the Ordinary Level and A-Level. It has facilities for sports and technology as well as many clubs.

  • Established: 1999
  • Address: Ganges Road, Ridgeview, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Tuition: US$1 756
  • Membership: Association of Trust Schools, CHISZ and HMC

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