Gweru -The Zimbabwe government has released $90 billion towards payment of outstanding Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) funds to schools, dating back to 2022, a cabinet Minister has said.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerai Moyo said this during a clean-up campaign and impact assessment of community outreach programmes meeting held at Kwekwe High School.
BEAM is a national school assistance program which was launched in 2001 to provide support to vulnerable children, ensuring that they have access to education.
The funds allocated through BEAM cover school fees, uniforms, and other educational expenses for eligible students.
“The government led by our able leader Dr (Emmerson) Mnangagwa is committed to ensuring that the money owed from 2022 and 2023 will be paid in February this year.”
“There was a meeting last week, where Treasury committed to releasing the first tranche of $90 billion. This will ensure that schools operate properly without any challenges. We need to commend the government for that gesture,” he said.
Moyo repeated the warning to schools not to send children back home due to non-payment of fees, saying it is unconstitutional.
He however encouraged parents and guardians to ensure they paid fees for their children in order contribute to the development of schools and improvement in the quality of education.
“The law says don’t turn away children, but we are not saying fees must not be paid. Fees must be paid. It is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that fees for their children are paid. You should encourage them to pay.”
“If parents are not paying fees, how is the school going to operate? It means all activities are going to come to a halt. Then you should encourage parents to pay. Those who can’t afford it because they are disabled or come from the most marginalised, disadvantaged backgrounds, our President Dr Mnangagwa has put in place safety nets in the form of Grant In Aid tuition in rural districts and BEAM.”
Moyo said the late disbursement of BEAM funds, which has been a challenge recently, will now be a thing of the past as the government is committed to ensure that these are disbursed promptly, enabling schools to provide necessary support to vulnerable students.
Over the past two years the government has been struggling tom pay BEAM funds and school authorities complaining that the delays were affecting their operations as the funds were eroded by inflation by the time they are disbursed.
Meanwhile, Moyo lamented the global problem of drug and substance abuse, saying that it is a challenge that requires the joint efforts of all stakeholders.
He said the problem was a “cancer” as it was destroying the youths who are the future leaders, and urged the public to report drug dealers to the police in order to create a safer environment for children and promote a drug-free society.
SOURCE : NEWZIANA