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Dynamics of implementing arts and culture programmes as a curriculum subject in Zimbabwe secondary schools.

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Arts and Culture as a subject is a curriculum innovation that has been institutionalised in the Zimbabwe secondary schools through the Ministry of Education’s directives. Generally, the curriculum programme was introduced in schools to produce self-reliant citizens as well as establishing artistic and cultural industries in the country. More specifically, Arts and Culture was designed to facilitate the establishment of cultural industries like film and video making, recording, printing, fashion, beauty and cosmetics, cultural heritage, crafts, music, writing, theatre, drama, and embroidery amongst others. Initiated through Circular 28 of 2010, Arts and Culture was introduced without a syllabus unlike other curriculum subjects. In the light of the foregoing, this study explored the dynamics of implementing the Arts and Culture curriculum programmes in Zimbabwean secondary schools; how the Arts and Culture programmes are dynamically taught as a curriculum subject without a syllabus; and the implications of the dynamics of implementing Arts and Culture curriculum programmes as a curriculum subject in Zimbabwe secondary schools. Anchored on an adapted van den Akker’s (2003) curriculum implementation framework and buttressed by Rogan and Grayson’s (2003) curriculum implementation theory, this qualitative case study of three secondary schools in the Shurugwi district of Zimbabwe adopted an interpretivist paradigm. Document analysis, one-on-one interviews, observations and focus group discussions were the key data generation tools. Consistent with qualitative studies, purposive sampling was utilised to select the 3 schools as well as participants from each school. One urban secondary school, one peri-urban secondary school, and one rural secondary school were purposively selected. From each secondary school the school head, Arts and Culture Head of Department, and Arts and Culture teachers were also purposefully selected. The selected participants were information rich since enacting Arts and Culture at school level is their direct responsibility. Data generated were analysed using the thematic approach. Firstly, findings from the study reflect that most of the respondents were not aware of the reasons for implementing Arts and Culture as prescribed by the policy circulars. This is evidenced by the various mutations observed in implementing/enacting Arts and Culture. Secondly, since Arts and Culture was competing with other examinable subjects for time participants tended to prioritise these examinable subjects with respect to time allocation. Thirdly, teachers were not at ease with implementing a programme without a syllabus since they were used to teaching subjects with syllabi. This appears to be based on the prescriptive nature of the teacher education programme implementers were exposed to. The foregoing implies the need for initiating and sustaining the development of communities of practice for teachers who enact Arts and Culture. The study recommends interventions that can be utilised to not only clarify the rationale for Arts and Culture but also to ensure that teacher capacity development is instituted with a view to empowering Arts and Culture teachers as they enact the programme in secondary schools.


Doctor of Philosophy in Education. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


Arts - Instruction and study - Education - Zimbabwe (Secondary), Arts - Education (Secondary) - Zimbabwe., Arts - Study and Teaching - Zimbabwe., Theses - Education.