At least 93% of the $905 million allocated to the Primary and Secondary Education ministry in this year’s national budget will go towards employment costs, leaving a measly 7% for capital expenditure.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education and Sport acting chairperson Kenneth Musanhi told the National Assembly recently that the 7% allocation would affect education standards in the country.
In a report on the Primary and Secondary Education budgetary allocation, the committee suggested that payment of teachers must be a responsibility of the Civil Service Commission, to enable the ministry’s budget to go towards improving standards of education.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is directly responsible for one-third of the population’s education in Zimbabwe, yet the budget does not seem to show that responsibility,” the Education committee report read.
“If you look at the budget that was allocated to the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, you find that 93% of the budget is going towards the employment payments, leaving 7% of the budget for capital expenditure.”
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said an analysis of the 2018 national budget gives a false impression that the education budget got the largest chunk of the cake, yet in reality, the sector is in dire straits.
“When you look at the budget comparatively, you are bound to think it has been given the biggest chunk, but it is not a transformative budget because education is seriously underfunded, and if you leave only 7% for implementation of the new curriculum and acquisition of learning materials and infrastructure, then it means there is limited space for expansion of the education sector,” he said.
Ndlovu said while employment costs would gobble 93%, teachers remain grossly underpaid, with their last increment being five years ago.
“The 93% employment costs do not change the status quo of teachers’ salaries that have not had an increase for the past five years and those due for promotion are not promotable. We are said to have got the biggest budget and we are making useless comparison because it is just a nominal figure,” he said.
With a teacher-pupil ratio of 52 pupils per teacher, Parliament recommended that more teachers must be recruited, including the 600 for early childhood development.