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One million risk being forced out of school

21 Jan 2014

Close to one million orphans and vulnerable children that are supposed to benefit from the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) are likely not to attend school this year due to lack of funds, a government official said on Tuesday.

Giving oral evidence before the  parliamentary portfolio committee on public service labour and social welfare this morning, acting principal director  of the Social Services Ministry Sydney Mhishi, said allocated budget by treasury of US$15 million will only assist 83 000 against the targeted 250 000 vulnerable children.”

“The implication is that 167 000 children would not be able to access government assistance for secondary education.”

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

“This year we still haven’t had any confirmation from any partner who is going to give us the other half of these resources. So we take it that if there is no confirmed partner government is going to do it alone secondary and primary.

“Certainly the 15 million which was given there would be very inadequate so we may have some problems but even if we get a partner they are going to give us around 15 million. We will still be not able to pay for all children that deserve to be paid for.

“ But if we get up to 30 million we will go some way that is if government 15 and partner 15 so that’s real gap that we have under BEAM,” Mhishi said.

Mhishi said if donors are to come on board 625 000 children will be assisted and the other 125 000 still be in need of funding.

BEAM is a government of Zimbabwe social protection initiative which was established in 2009 with the support of development partners after the education sector had collapsed.

It was meant to cater for vulnerable children who cannot raise money to pay for school fees.

Over the years the project was being abused resulting in the most deserving children failing to accesses it.

Mhishi said the 2012 BEAM evaluation revealed that ideally the programme should reach 1 000 000 children.

“Thus for 2014 the programme intended to target 1 000 000 children broken down as follows-750 000 primary school children and 250 000 Secondary School children.”