Proportional representation legislator, Emma Ncube, has called for transparency in the selection of Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) beneficiaries saying the process which she said was marred with corruption and nepotism excludes some deserving pupils.
BEAM is a donor-funded education programme administered by the government and meant to ensure children from less-privileged families especially in rural areas have access to basic education. Speaking in Parliament Tuesday Ncube said BEAM was abused by those administering it.
“The issue of BEAM is a painful one,” she decried. “It is not all the disadvantaged children who are benefitting from BEAM because of corruption. To be honest, those people who select children to fall under BEAM end up taking their relatives’ children and making sure they benefit from BEAM living out the intended beneficiaries who are less privileged.”
She called for transparency in the selection of beneficiaries.
“What we request is that when selection is done for students under BEAM, it should not be done by people who are stationed in that particular area,” she suggested. “For example, people from the Midlands should come and select BEAM beneficiaries in Masvingo and probably, people from Masvingo should do the same in Mutare so that the intended beneficiaries benefit from the BEAM programme.”
She added: “For the headmaster and school development associations to do the selection process is unfair because most of the kids falling under the programme are not supposed to be beneficiaries of BEAM.”
Ncube said it was also important for the government to release BEAM funds in time to avoid inconveniencing the children.
“It is my wish that the funds be released early so that children are not disadvantaged and told to go back home because fees would not have been paid,” she said. “As a child is sent home because fees has not been paid, that child lags behind in terms of his or her education and the teacher will never go back to where the child last attended lessons in order for him/her to catch up with other students.” Ncube said BEAM should be crafted in such a way that it takes pupils from primary right up to tertiary level.
“If we say that BEAM should only cover for the primary education, it means at secondary and tertiary level papers have to be processed again,” she said.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)