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Interrogating the provision of secondary school education in Hopley and Caledonia communities: a lens into internal displacement in Zimbabwe.

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Internal displacement is a tenacious social ill that has gripped the global community affecting the lives of millions of people. Despite the fact that this form of forced migration has become common lexicon at an international level, there is a dearth of studies on the impact of internal displacement on the accessibility of secondary school education. Therefore, the central focus of this study was to probe how internal displacement has impacted on the provision of secondary school education on Hopley and Caledonia communities. The study cited Hopley and Caledonia in Zimbabwe as communities that host internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose homes were demolished through Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. The study focused on the premise that forced migration invariably leads to deprivations in the lives of the victims. The study explored how the IDPs’ loss of shelter inevitably led to the failure to access secondary school education for the majority of the children. This was entrenched in the non-adherence to international statutes by institutions mandated to facilitate them so as to alleviate the challenges of internal displacement. In order to ground the study in a way that would give the scope of understanding of IDPs’ perceptions of the phenomenon and its effects on education, the study mainly used the Capability Approach as a theoretical framework. The Capability Approach enhanced the understanding that the lack of provision of education to displaced children denied them the opportunity to be what they can potentially be. In addition, the Entitlement Approach and Critical Theory were also used to interpret the role of education in the pursuit of social justice and inalienable human rights among the internally displaced people in the two communities. As internal displacement in Zimbabwe is politically sensitive, this led to the use of the qualitative research paradigm to seek the IDPs and other key actors’ subjective interpretations of this phenomenon. Furthermore, purposive sampling was used to select respondents whose children were of secondary school going age in these communities. The non-random and subjective nature of sampling was driven by the fact that the study specifically intended to select IDPs whose children’s access to education had been affected by internal displacement. Thematic and content analysis were used to analyse the empirical data and secondary evidence respectively. The study established that internal displacement in Zimbabwe resulted in the people being dispossessed of both their shelter and potential futures through the lack of education. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the lack of education increased the IDPs’ invisibility compounded by the government and global community’s failure to institute international policies and norms on internal displacement. Thus, the study makes a meaningful contribution to the body of knowledge on the discourse on ‘missing migrants’ in the form of IDPs in Zimbabwe. The implication of these findings is the need to deconstruct and recategorise IDPs in Zimbabwe so that they can benefit from the various internal displacement policies and international instruments.


Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict, Transformation and Peace Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


Secondary School Education., Hopley Secondary School., Caledonia Secondary School., Theses - Conflict, transformation and Peace Studies.