Zimbabwe/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.5 Basic out-of-school arts and cultural education

In Zimbabwe there are also many informal initiatives that focus on arts education. Arts education outside the formal sector is conducted in many different ways - starting with the individual artist who trains those he or she works or creates with to fully-fledged arts education organisations working with children of all ages, the youth and adults in local and national programmes. The informal education programmes are usually meant to cater for school drop outs, people who cannot afford higher education due to exorbitant school fees and those people who fail to secure places to study at tertiary institutions due to failure to meet the entry requirements of these institutions which tend to be very high. 

Informal arts education is mainly provided by non governmental organisations without financial support from the government. One such organisation is Children’s Performing Arts Workshop (CHIPAWO). CHIPAWO arts education programme aims, among other things, to develop a child who can take on the culture of so-called ‘Internationalism’ proud of and confident in his or her own diverse history, language, arts and culture. In addition, the CHIPAWO experience consists of an integrated arts syllabus comprising music, dance, drama, video and television, and social and career education aimed at developing free-thinking, critical young people, who have a range of life and career skills and espouse progressive practice on issues such as gender, AIDS, disability, human rights and democracy. Through the practical experience of developing the programme with children, a comprehensive pedagogy, aesthetic and ethics has been developed.[12] 

Some informal arts education programmes are initiated by external organisations such as British Council. In 2009 and 2010 the British Council and Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust worked together in implementing a training programme on creative entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe. This saw a total of one hundred and eighty artists being trained on vital issues such as marketing of artistic products, governance of arts organisations and financial management among others. 

In some cases informal arts education involves experienced artists making initiatives to open studios and "arts centres" where they offer training to young and budding artists. This type of training is usually more hands-on training and often better that the mostly theoretical training offered by tertiary education institutions. 

Robert McLaren Observes that, ‘Classical and modern ballet, jazz, tap and other forms of dancing are offered to children and young people by various individual dance teachers and dance schools. Attendance at such classes is largely confined to the nation’s minorities – people of European, Asian and mixed descent. However there is a growing minority of middle class black Zimbabwean children attending such classes. One of the major events of this section of dance for children outside the formal school system is the annual Stars of Tomorrow weeklong concert at the Reps Theatre in Harare.’[13]

[12] Chifunyise and McLaren, Research capacities in arts education and their practical applications in the southern African sub-region:http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/artseducation/pdf/writtencontribution307robertmclarenfullpaper.pdf

[13] Robert McLaren, (2001), Case Study: Teaching Dance to Children in Zimbabwe the Chipawo experience, A paper presented at the Regional Conference on Arts Education in Primary and Secondary Schools as well as in Non-formal Education Systems, 26-1 July 2001: http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/files/19437/10805724513mclaren.pdf/mclaren.pdf

Chapter published: 28-09-2011