In class at Pakati Secondary School

Deputy Head Mrs Pindura teaches English at the school. She sent this picture of one of her classes to show what it is like for her students.

In Zimbabwe, children attend Primary school Grades 1-7, then Secondary school Forms 1-4. Form 1 students will be aged around 13-14.

In the class shown there are 36 students, learning about sentence structure in English, which not their first language – that is Shona, the language of over 70% of Zimbaweans. The basic structure being subject plus verb plus object i.e. Tendai married a beautiful girl.

As you can see, ‘chalk and talk’ is still widely used for teaching here, little changed from my experiences there 30 years ago. Please help these students be the first to experience new teaching methods using more modern facilities


My name is Chris Walker, and between January 1989 and September 1991 I worked, through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), at Pakati Secondary School in Murehwa South district in Zimbabwe. I was a Maths teacher for 2 years, the Acting Head for the last 8 months there. I have also taught in Botswana & the UK, had 4 years working for VSO, and have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005.

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