HomeLocal News1 million pupils require fees assistance: Coltart

1 million pupils require fees assistance: Coltart

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EDUCATION minister David Coltart has disclosed that about one million out of an estimated 3,6 million school-going children required Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) support as their parents and guardians cannot afford paying school fees.

Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi, Senior Reporter

Speaking at the launch of the Beam Evaluation Report in Harare last week, Coltart said the evaluation revealed that approximately 27% of these children were either orphans or vulnerable children.

“From this, one can conclude that we have a very grave situation on our hands,” Coltart said.

“Given an approximate 3% enrolment increase, an estimated $53 million is required to cover the full annual Beam requirement in 2013. This will not cover the out-of-school children, the number of which are still not known, but could be as high as another one million children.”

“Those children identified in the Beam and Zela (Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment) report are registered and in school. The number of out-of-school children not included in these assessments is not known,” Coltart said.

The evaluation indicated that 784 000 (28%) of primary school pupils are in need of support, but only 456 400 (16,3%) had accessed it. The evaluation noted that Tsholotsho, Bubi and Gwanda districts had the highest number of school dropouts.

Coltart said for secondary schools, 192 000 (24%) of 800 000 students required Beam support but only 140 000 (17,5%) received it.

Of the 976 000 primary and secondary school students identified as needing Beam support, 380 000 were not receiving anything.

He added that a comprehensive “out of school” assessment would be conducted in partnership with Zimstats early next year.

The minister said according to statistics from the report, there were gaps and weaknesses in the programme, indicating the need for refinement of the selection process.

“The Beam evaluation was long overdue. Gaps and weaknesses identified should form the basis for continuous training of heads of schools and the community selection committees (CSC) in the Beam processes and procedures,” he said.

Beam was launched in 2001 in response to the rising challenges associated with the macro-economic meltdown which undermined social services provision to assist people who could not afford school fees.

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