Mitigating the Unmet Psychosocial Support Needs of Left-behind Learners in Child-Headed Households: Exploring ‘Educare’ Support at a Zimbabwean School

Ricanos Jaure, Alfred Henry Makura

Following parental labor migration, the family unit is disrupted contributing to the formation of a unique form of child-headed households (CHH) among the left-behind children (LBC). Parental migration creates a gap in terms of children support, care, and protection leading to unmet psychosocial support needs among the LBCs in child-headed households.

This research chapter sought to explore the fusion of education and care (Educare) in schools as a holistic system of support for the left-behind at a school where LBC expend most of their time.

This elevates and transforms the school from just being centers for education excellency but also centers for care and learner well-being. The chapter draws from qualitative data in which twelve left-behind learners and ten education and community informants participated in a focus group discussion. Findings revealed that the school has great potential to support learners in adverse living and learning situations through the curriculum, extra-curriculum clubs, peer groups, and school personnel (teachers in loco parentis).

However, the same school environment was found to be associated with negative typecasting of LBC’s that sometimes affects the support system. This chapter recommends building the support base for LBC within school through sensitizations, capacitation, and taping support from community resources