Trends in Student Enrolments in Agricultural Degree Programmes in Zimbabwe

Evelyn Chiyevo Garwe


Following the fast track land reform programme, Zimbabwe needs more agricultural graduates to provide extension, training, research and development and ensure food security and national development. However, despite the general increase in enrolments in universities, the prospects of satisfying this requirement are not promising as the share of students opting to study agriculture at undergraduate and postgraduate levels has reportedly been declining. The objective of this study was to map the enrolment trends in agricultural degree programmes vis-à-vis overall student enrolments and to explore the factors that motivate students to pursue agricultural careers. The study included all the 15 registered universities and covered a span of 6 years (2009-2014). Documentary evidence and structured questionnaires were used to collect data from 250 students in universities studying agriculture-related degree programmes and 250 university students studying other science based degree programmes. The results of the study revealed an upward trend in student enrolments and a decline in the share of student enrolments in agricultural related programmes. The major factors that demotivate students to study agriculture include issues of poor employment prospects and the negative perceptions about agricultural jobs. In addition, the other science based programmes offer better opportunities, remuneration and better conditions of service and yet the entry requirements into the programmes are basically the same. The study recommended that government needs to aggressively promote and attract high school students to study sciences as a way of broadening the student base for agriculture and other sciences programmes.

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