BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
GOVERNMENT says it has intensified efforts to provide free basic education next year, with indications that the initiative will be under strong consideration in the 2023 national budget.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared earlier this year that government would provide free basic education with effect from 2023.
In an interview with NewsDay last week, Public Service minister Paul Mavima said free education provision was an important step towards the attainment of State-funded basic education.
“Steps are already underway to provide free education and this will be done progressively. Already we are looking forward to supporting 1,5 million learners through Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) this year. Like already indicated, BEAM has moved towards comprehensive coverage of the needs of learners beyond tuition fees.
“This has been an important step towards attainment of State-funded basic education. The State has indicated that there will be more comprehensive coverage of this matter under the 2023 budget,” Mavima said.
However, the government has since come under fire from teachers unions who have scoffed at the ambitious free basic education plan labelling it as mere politicking.
For years, the government has been promising free basic education, but has failed to implement the policy.
The percentage of parents failing to pay school fees for their children has been increasing over the years with more than four million children now unable to access education via the government’s BEAM currently able to support only one million children.
Meanwhile, many schools now demand fees in foreign currency, casting doubt on the government’s capacity to fulfil its free education pledge.
“This epistle is a product of historical analysis, coloured by educational taxonomy, and must never be associated with any organisation or political
“It is informed by nothing other than the truth and a desire to build a credible system of quality public education that can enhance sustainable development in Zimbabwe,” Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said.