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ZIMBABWE:The government is to make education compulsory for nine years in an attempt to curb the large numbers of drop-outs after primary school.

Attendance is compulsory in the seven grades of primary school which children usually leave at the age of 12.

The announcement by Witness Mangwende, education minister, will extend compulsory schooling into the first two years of secondary school. He said legislation would make it an offence for parents capable of paying fees not to keep children in school to the age of about 14 years.

According to the latest figures available, there were 279,000 children in grade 7 in 1992, but only 62 per cent of them had moved up to high school the next year.

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