1 million drop out of school

HARARE - Almost a million Zimbabwean orphans and disadvantaged children who depend on State assistance to pay school fees may be unable to enrol as the new term opened this week after government failed to raise funds.

Under the Basic Education Assistance Model (Beam), the government needs $73 million to pay school fees of orphans and disadvantaged children, but Ngoni Masoka, the permanent secretary in the Public Service ministry, told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, that only $15 million was budgeted for Beam this fiscal year, a figure he said was grossly insufficient.

He warned that hundreds of thousands of children will drop out of school.

Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has led to job losses, making it impossible for growing numbers of parents to pay tuition fees. Unemployment now stands at 80 percent, and is rising as businesses continue to fold.

For those still employed in the formal sector, low wages have worsened a situation that is already desperate.

The announcement that there were no funds for Beam came after hard-pressed guardians of Beam beneficiaries had made representations to government to expand the programme to include the purchasing of exercise books.

The $73 million is needed to assist in the education of one million children. But only $15 million has been raised.

Masoka said the situation had been compounded by the withdrawal of donors such as Unicef and the United Kingdom Aid (Ukaid)’s Department for International Development (DfID) among others.

No comment was available from the British Embassy and Unicef yesterday, as officials had left when we sought comment late yesterday.

Official sources said the donors who used to pay for pupils under Beam had anticipated that there would be no need for aid as primary education was supposed to be free under the new Zimbabwe Constitution adopted last year in May.

“Allocated budget by Treasury of $15 million will only assist 83 000 secondary school children against the targeted 250 000,” Masoka said.

“The implication is that 167 000 (secondary school) children will not be able to access government assistance for secondary education.

“For primary school, the target is 750 000 children at a total cost of $8 per child per term which amounts to $28 million per year.

“$15 million is expected from donors; however, no commitment has been formally communicated to the ministry.

“If donors are to come on board, 625 000 children will be assisted and the other 125 000 will still be in need of funding.”

Masoka said the latest Beam evaluation revealed that ideally, the programme should reach one million children.

“Thus for 2014, the programme intended to target one million children broken down as follows: 750 000 primary school children and 250 000 secondary schoolchildren,” he said.

Appearing before the same parliamentary committee, the ministry’s director of Social Services Sydney Mhishi reported that government had also failed to provide adequate funding for 5 700 “Children in Difficult Circumstances (CDC)” as well as street children.

“Out of the $1 364 453 and $80 000 the ministry had proposed for CDCs and street children, Treasury allocated $500 000 and $20 000, representing 37 and 25 percent respectively,” Mhishi said.

“Under this scenario, the possibility of some institutions closing down is great.

“This leaves government with the burden of where to place the affected children taking into account the daily subsistence needs and school requirements of institutionalised and foster care children.”

Lawmakers sympathised with the ministry officials, placing the blame squarely on Patrick Chinamasa, the Finance minister, for failing to adequately mobilise resources to help children needing social safety nets.

Comments (11)

You can nikuv the funds from Israel to pay for these school fees

niku - 15 January 2014

The government must use the diamond money to send the children to school.

Solo - 15 January 2014

Of the 1 million on BEAM I bet my last dollar t75% must not be there they are not genuine cases. We have kids we help as a church to go to school and are not on BEAM and we know those with well connected people on BEAM even though they can afford. But what is the Ministry doing to Mutendi High School. It has 400 usd of each child they have expelled from school in the dark of the night because of a very small outstanding balance.

Maita Manyuka - 15 January 2014

These shameless crooks. Why should donors continue to bankroll the education of vulnerable and orphaned children when you were given ample time to ensure that you sustain the program beyond donor funding? Dogs with no morals. Where is all the money from our vast mineral resources going to? What sort of pockets cannot be filled after 33 years of plundering the economy when the majority of Zimbabweans wallow in poverty? Muri vanhu vakaita sei vasinganyari? Dogs are better off than men and women in ZANU-PF. You are worse off than dogs and pigs. The donors you continue to insult day in day out with all obscenities at every opportunity are the same you want to bank roll the education of OVC? Where are the Chinese and your friends from the EAST? Nyarai mhani. NXA

vongai - 15 January 2014

Mbahva dze government, look hamusati mazviona macdes mati madii henyu

Clemence Tashaya - 15 January 2014

Official sources said the donors who used to pay for pupils under Beam had anticipated that there would be no need for aid as primary education was supposed to be free under the new Zimbabwe Constitution adopted last year in May. There you have it.

tk - 15 January 2014

My honest contribution is that if we recover all the money misappropriated by people who abused office, eg Muchechetere at ZBC and many others all the children will go back to school. Muchechetere alone misappropriated over 2.5million and considering a child needs only $8.00 per term. If his properties are repossesed and sold then we will have 100 000 children funded for the whole year. What if we do this to all those who stole money in Gvt and parastatals, we will ctually raise money to pay civil servants, restore our water systems in urban areas and improve services in hospitals. We need a radical approach in solving our problems honestly

Ziziharinanyanga - 15 January 2014

Ndinoti ZANU PF msada kutamba nehwupenyu hwavanhu varombo avo vamaishandisa kurova vanhu nhasi moda kuvarasha zvokwadi . Tinoda vana vainde kuchikoro kwete zvokuti varime or vaende Joni kunoshanda mumapurazi iyo nyika yavo ichivarasha . Venyu vana vanoenda kwese kwavanoda kunodzidza vedu varombo vongofa vachikacha shomho nemheno venyu voshumisa makompiyuta .ZANU PF musatambe nehwupenyu hwevana ndinoti gurai pamari inoshandiswa nababa Chatunga kuenda pazhe kwenyika nezvuru zvevanhu muise kuvarombo vainde kuchikoro

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 15 January 2014

Cry my beloved country...

Seeing is believing - 16 January 2014

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Clean Water - 16 January 2014

if all the fat necks where not given those expensive cars all our kids could go school. remember the slogan free school for every child down with the whole lot hope they suffer in pain when they die.

jack - 16 January 2014

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