Sunday 26 November 2023


All undeserving beneficiaries of school fees disbursed under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) will be weeded out after it emerged that some schools have all their learners receiving the grants.

BEAM was introduced by the Government in 2001 as a social safety net to benefit underprivileged learners whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition and examination fees, with the scheme expanded significantly under the Second Republic to take into account roughly a third of school pupils.

However, revelations that there has been widespread abuse of the BEAM funds has prompted Government to review how the funds are being disbursed and to who.

Speaking at the National Association of Primary Heads national conference in Mutare last recently, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Torerayi Moyo said the management of BEAM funds was facing challenges, including abuse.

The late disbursement of funds to deserving learners was also a cause for concern.

Dr Moyo said the country’s central authority would go the extra mile to ensure funds for BEAM were disbursed early for schools to operate optimally. The process to remove undeserving cases from the list of BEAM beneficiaries was already in motion.

“This thing called BEAM is a very good thing,” said Minister Moyo.

“It helps make every citizen access basic education. In my constituency, there is a school where all the 400 learners are under BEAM. Given the late disbursements of BEAM funds, how do we surely expect the school to operate. Here we are saying we must not give BEAM and grant-in-aid-of-tuition facilities to every student in Zimbabwe.

“Let the few deserving students be offered those facilities. The majority of learners whose parents can afford should pay. That is our declaration.”

Under a concerted campaign dubbed the Mutare golden peacock declaration, Government and stakeholders in the education sector were now embarking on a crusade to encourage parents and guardians to meet the financial demands of their dependants.

“Just as the theme of our conference highlights, there is underfunding in our education, but this does not mean we do not have the funds in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Moyo.

“The sad thing is that we have parents and guardians who do not want to pay school fees for their children. We really have to go out and embark on a drive to urge all parents and guardians to meet the financial demands of their dependants.

“We want to come up with a declaration which we will popularise as we seek to make every parent and guardian responsible by paying for their child’s school fees.”

Dr Moyo commended measures taken so far to curb examination paper leaks and announced more stringent measures Government was working on to plug the loopholes.

“We have had the problem of exam leaks in recent years. We have had even Grade Seven exam papers leaking. We are happy that this year, we have not had exam leakages and that makes me proud,” he said.

“Going forward, we are now focusing of more stringent measures on this challenge of exam leaks.

“We have drafted a Bill that we sent to the Attorney Generals’ office meant to come up with more stringent measures against exam leaks.

“The Zimsec (Zimbabwe School Examinations Council) Act provisions, are to me, archaic.

“We want to come up with progressive provisions such as imposing nine or 10-year jail terms on anyone responsible for exam paper leaks. That will be deterrent.”

The 34th NAPH national conference was held under the theme: “Rising above challenges: Underfunding in education, a challenge to the school head”. Herald


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