Most learners under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) have reportedly been shut out of schools after the government delayed selecting beneficiaries for the programme for 2023, reported NewZimbabwe.com.
BEAM caters for orphans and other vulnerable children between the ages of six and 19, with 1.8 million learners registered on the programme.
During Wednesday’s Question and Answer session in the National Assembly, legislators said beneficiaries of BEAM were being turned away from school due to non-payment of fees by the government.
MP for Bikita South Josiah Sithole (ZANU PF) asked Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima when the BEAM selection of beneficiaries will be carried out.
In his response, Mavima said schools should not turn away learners as BEAM was up to date up to the third term of 2022. He said:
Schools are not supposed to turn learners away because monies have not been remitted to the schools. That is the policy of the government.
As we push for those funds to be transferred to the schools, the learners should continue to learn.
BEAM was up to date up to the third term of 2022, and we are in the first term of 2023.
There is no reason whatsoever for schools to turn away the BEAM registered learners.
Responding to Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (CCC), who had asked why the government had failed to pay fees on time yet the budget was approved, Mavima said:
As usual, the beginning of the year processes that have to be done with our budget and releases of money does not come at the time we want.
We are pushing for those releases to be done so that schools will not have problems with regard to whatever supplies they need for them to operate efficiently.