HARARE – Government is failing to adequately fund the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) initiative, meant to assist vulnerable children with their school fees.
Labour and Social Welfare committee chairperson Magna Mudyiwa told legislators during a discussion on the national budget on Tuesday that arrears incurred under Beam between 2015 to 2017 now stand at $87 million.
Beam is a government-driven initiative meant to facilitate equal access to basic education by those who cannot afford it. Its beneficiaries include orphaned and vulnerable children, those living with disabilities or in foster care under poor parents, street children, or children with chronically ill guardians or in child-headed households.
Beam’s major objective is to reduce the number of children dropping out of school and reach out to children who have never been to school due to economic hardships.
“Critical child welfare programmes are seriously underfunded, although $20 million was allocated to the Beam..
“This amount, however, falls short of the $120 310 828 required to sustain the programme. Cumulative arrears incurred under this programme over the years 2015 to 2017 now stand at $87 million.
“In addition, we have children in difficult circumstances programme that was allocated $500 000 against a required budget of $1,5 million.”