The government has courted the ire of education stakeholders in Matabeleland after a leaked Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) list for 2021 showed that schools in Matabeleland were once again allocated the least funds.
BEAM is a government programme that pays Primary and Secondary education school fees for underprivileged students.
The outcry resulted in government suspending this year’s disbursements after it emerged that schools in Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Midlands were allocated large chunks of the funds.
One headmaster from Bulawayo queried the Beam allocation calling it a scandal.
“The current cycle Beam payouts to Zimbabwe schools trends and patterns has exposed huge differences. The allocation is scandalous, to say the least, figures for our schools in Bulawayo are so small compared to Harare and Mashonaland, why? What formula is being used because it seems the enrollment statistics we submitted were disregarded,” said the headmaster who requested anonymity out of fear of victimisation.
Another Headmaster from Tsholotsho queried whether this was a genuine mistake or this is the marginalisation we have as a region always complained about while being labelled cry babies?
“It showed a deliberately low distribution of funds in Bulawayo and Matabeleland regions than for other regions. No explanation is there for these trends in the distribution.”
Another concern raised was that schools had closed for the first term without the deserving learners receiving their BEAM fees.
Contacted for comment, Director Of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary School, Taungana Ndoro labelled the CITE journalist a separatist for seeking clarification on the discrepancies.
“I am worried that you are passing off as a separatist journalist rather than a national or inclusive one. The Basic Education Assistance Module (better known by its acronym BEAM) is a government programme that pays Primary and Secondary education school fees for students who cannot afford it in Zimbabwe. The programme is coordinated by the Department of Social Services (DSS) of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. To insinuate that there is a deliberate low distribution of funds in particular regions is sad if not divisive especially when you disregard demographics with impunity,” he said.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology