GOVERNMENT has paid a measly $20 000 to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) education department towards clearing a $500 000 debt in outstanding fees payment for students under its social welfare programme.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Government pays tuition fees for the disadvantaged and orphans at council-run schools under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).
A health, housing and education committee report reveals that the government BEAM debt dates back to 2014, resulting in beneficiaries being chased away from school over non-fees payment.
“During the second term government paid $9 002 (tuition) and $7 505 (School Development Committee levies) towards debtors of BEAM-funded learners. The payments made were not sufficient to clear the debts which stand at $260 787 (tuition) and $244 913 (SDC levies). These debts go as far back as 2014,” the council health, housing and education report reads in part.
In 2014, 2015 and last year, the government never paid a cent to BCC for students under the BEAM programme.
The council report also shows that BCC is owed over $2,5 million in outstanding tuition fees and levies. BCC has a total enrolment of 40 196 as of the second term, up from the first term figure of 40 130.
“The total paid for tuition and council levies amounted to $514957 which was a slight decrease from $587 435.70 paid in the first term.
This could have been due to the election period which affected the second term school operations and environment. The debtors increased from $2 383 987 to $2 621 208,” the council report adds. At one time, councillors said contract forms compelling parents and the government to pay up fees on or before schools open should be introduced to ensure that council schools get monies due to them.