Govt needs $33m for 2018 Beam students

GOVERNMENT requires $33 million to pay for students under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) in 2018, while it also owes different schools $82 million in unpaid fees for students since 2014.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima appeared before the James Makore-led Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Gender this week, where he told Senators that while schools were owed huge amounts by the Beam programme, the children affected were allowed to attend classes.

“The total requested for 2014 (Beam) was $7 110 566, but only $6 950 715 was disbursed, in 2015 the total requirement was $25 274 960 and it was not met, in 2016 the requirement was $25 223 250 and was not met, and in 2017 the requirement was $25 223 250, and it also was not met, and the schools have to scrounge for resources while we wait for Beam funds,” he said.

“We owe fees for third term 2014 to 2017 and the total amount owed is $82 831 982, and this is very deleterious to the functions of our schools and the quality of education.”

Mavima said in 2014 a total 150 247 primary school female students were under the Beam programme compared to 147 939 male learners, while 52 101 secondary school male students were under Beam compared to 45 637 female students.

On staffing levels of male teachers compared to their female counterparts, Mavima said currently there were 118 925 teachers in the education system, of which 51 276 were male and 67 649 female.

He said government managed to build many schools after independence, with only 3 161 primary schools in the country in 1980, but the figure rose to 5 933 primary schools in 2015. He said there were only 197 secondary schools in 1980, but the figure rose to 2 718 in 2015.

Mavima said the proliferation of settlements in different parts of the country was now causing a demand for 2 056 more schools to be built throughout the country, especially at places like Caledonia, Hopley, Stoneridge and Cowdray Park in Bulawayo.

“In Caledonia, only we need 30 new primary schools and about eight secondary schools to serve that population,” he said.

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