Sunday Mail Reporter
More than 1,5 million vulnerable children — making up a third of learners enrolled at schools countrywide — are receiving free education under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), which is part of Government’s efforts to ensure education for all.
Addressing an online discussion organised by BoldAds to commemorate the Day of the African Child, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Government was committed to providing basic education to every child.
“As part of fulfilling its mandate, Government has undertaken several programmes which have seen the country increase its child protection capabilities,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“This is being done through the Basic Education Assistance Module measures which have been put in place to ensure that no child of school-going age is deprived of the right to education.
“This programme has gone further and is now providing not just tuition but also examination fees and stationery. And just to let you know that 1,5 million are under BEAM out of the 4,5 million children in school in this country.”
BEAM was introduced in 2001 to assist vulnerable children with tuition, examination fees and stationery. Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government will continue promoting programmes and policies that engender children’s rights.
“Government is not blind to the challenges that have been brought about by the global pandemic. As part of efforts to mitigate lockdown, the Government, through the Department of Social Welfare, provided food, shelter and rehabilitated children who are living in the streets.”
The Government, she said, was decentralising the Registrar-General’s Office to facilitate access to civic documents.
“Through devolution, services are being brought closer to people. Every child has the right to a birth certificate, and as part of meeting this right, the Registrar-General’s services will be accessible in districts and wards.”
She added: “His Excellency, President Mnangagwa, right from the onset indicated that Zimbabwe is open for business, as we seek to achieve Vision 2030 and make the country an upper middle-income economy. The vision is not about us but is about our children and future generation, and this requires us to invest in terms of economy, infrastructure and policies, but also in human capital.”
The event was sponsored by Arrupe Jesuit University.
In her remarks Dr Sister Annah Mandeya, the Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer for Arrupe said her organisation will continue to support vulnerable children. The Day of the African Child marks the commemoration of the June 16, 1976 Soweto Uprising.