Beam has failed: Artuz

An empty classroom

THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) says government has failed to fund vulnerable children under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) programme.

This year, $4,1 billion was set aside for vulnerable children’s school fees, but government only assisted one-and-a-half million children this year out of four million.

In a report on Monday, Artuz said: “The allocation of $2 700 per child per year is too little when the cheapest school is charging an average of $125 000 per year. If we were to use the targeted number of 1,5 million, the 2022 allocation translates to $2 700 per year or $900 per term, a figure far from the prevailing school fees and levies. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Beam programme has not been reaching the targeted numbers.

“(Some) $2,294 billion was allocated for the school feeding programme targeting 6 000 schools in 2022 from 5 800 in 2021. Per capita allocation is therefore $740 per child, per year. What food can be secured by this paltry amount? Even if we were to feed a child with US$1 per day, we will need at least US$180 per learner per year.

Artuz alleged that US$13 per child per year, which was allocated for sanitary wear this year, was not delivered to the beneficiaries.

“The 2022 budget allocated $1,23 billion (US$6,6 million) at the prevailing parallel market rate on the date of budget presentation for the provision of sanitary wear for girls. The output indicator for this programme is to cover at least 80% of rural girls,” the report read.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro referred questions to Public Service minister Paul Mavima who said: “Fee hikes have nothing to do with Beam. Beam is not for boarding schools. It is mainly for primary schoolchildren and secondary schoolchildren. Fee hikes, therefore, do not affect Beam. We now have an allocation of $20 billion, which will ensure that we catch up for the second and third terms.”

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