George Maponga in Masvingo
Government has received US$10 million from development partners to pay schools fees for vulnerable children under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam).
The funding will benefit underprivileged pupils in primary and secondary schools across the country.
In an interview with The Herald at commemorations to mark Global Action Week in Masvingo last Friday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora, said the funds would settle last term’s fees.
“Government and its partners have been funding beam and recently we received funding amounting to US$10 million from our development partners that will go towards payment of first term schools fees under beam.
“Distribution of the funds will start soon.
“My ministry is currently working on the modalities of paying the beam funds to schools”, he said.
Minister Dokora warned schools against sending away beam beneficiaries for non-payment of fees, warning that measures would be taken against such institutions.
He urged parents and the public to report to his ministry any schools sending away pupils over non-payment.
“beam funds are now being paid in retrospect meaning that fees for last term will be paid in the following term and so far we have not yet received reports of schools chasing away students under beam for non-payment of fees,” said Dr Dokora.
beam has benefited over five million pupils with donors providing US$15 million for beneficiaries in primary school, while Government has provided US$15 million for those in secondary school.
Besides funding constraints, loopholes in the system allegedly saw undeserving students benefiting from beam at the expense of those in real need.
There are growing calls for Government to increase funding for beam by at least 172 percent to adequately fund the scheme to cover both school fees and levies.