BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA A LEGISLATOR has demanded that government urgently disburses Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) funds to disadvantaged students who are in danger of failing to sit for their 2022 Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council examinations.
The issue was raised on Wednesday in the National Assembly by Gokwe Chireya MP, Tonderayi Moyo of Zanu PF who said Beam students were failing to register for their final examinations due to non-payment of fees under the government scheme.
In response, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima claimed that all was in order.
“We have made tremendous progress in the disbursement of Beam funds. So far, we have paid tuition fees for the second term which is the current term except for schools that needed to comply with the reporting requirements for Beam,” Mavima said.
“This year our target is 1,5 million and the resources to cover those students are there. Our coverage has become more comprehensive, to include all the requirements for those learners including uniforms, stationery that they need because we used to just cover tuition fees.”
But Zimbabwe Union of School Heads Secretary general and spokesperson Munyaradzi Majoni told NewsDay Weekender that disbursements for Beam fees were erratic.
“Beam is not being paid on time. There is still a huge backlog in the disbursement of school fees through Beam. The government only increased the number of beneficiaries, but there is no payment taking place,” Majoni said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has petitioned authorities over Beam after it emerged that beneficiaries were not allowed to register for their final examinations due to non-payment.
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ZLHR lawyer Tinashe Chinopfukutwa on Tuesday gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the headmaster of Mahombekombe Primary School in Kariba to stop disenfranchising pupils under Beam over non-payment.
Reports indicate that the school head told parents and guardians that their children’s examination registration fees would not be paid through the programme.
“This is a breach of the affected learners’ rights to equality and non-discrimination as set out in section 56 of the Constitution,” Chinopfukutwa said.
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