via Zimbabwe government in $15m school fees assistance debt November 19, 2013 by Wonai Masvingsie and Veneranda Langa NewsDay
The Zimbabwe government has failed to pay school fees worth $15 million for secondary school students under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) since the beginning of this year, Parliament heard yesterday.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry director of Social Services Sydney Mhishi made the disclosure when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare chaired by Mazowe North MP Edgar Chidavaenzi.
Mhishi was accompanied by Public Service secretary Ngoni Masoka.
“We have managed to pay fees for primary school children under Beam, but the budget for secondary schools is fully paid by government and of late we are still paying fees for 2012,” Mhishi said.
“This means we have not paid fees for first, second and third term for secondary schoolchildren under Beam and we have appealed to heads of schools to ensure that children remain in school.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has described government’s non-remittance of funds allocated to it as “a nightmare”.
Presenting evidence to the Higher and Tertiary Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committee yesterday, director of university education Martha Muguti said government was failing to pay tuition fees for students under the cadetship scheme.
The government owes tertiary institutions about $64 million in cadetship arrears for about 44 000 students. “We have these young people who want to be supported in terms of funding. It has been a nightmare. This is why you read in the papers that the government owes so much to polytechnics, to universities and to colleges,” Muguti said.
“Nobody is talking about paying. Government needs to be clear about this, are we talking about free education? We are offering a very expensive commodity, education, which is not cheap. It’s not like buying a loaf of bread, someone has to pay.”
Muguti also said most tertiary institutions did not provide student accommodation, leaving them at the mercy of private home owners who charged exorbitant rentals.
She said government had only remitted $50 000 to her ministry out of a budget of $380 million.