Source: The Herald – Breaking news.
Ivan Zhakata-Herald Correspondent
At least 1 515 047 learners countrywide are benefiting from the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) which is a social protection intervention established by Government in 2002 as a community based social safety net to pay the tuition and examination fees and the school levies of vulnerable children.
Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga said the primary objective of the BEAM programme 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.
Government assists these children through the payment of levies, tuition fees, examination fees as well as boarding fees for children with special needs enrolled in registered special schools.
He said BEAM provides fee waivers for eligible primary and secondary school children for tuition, examination fees and applicable levies.
“1 515 047 learners are enrolled on BEAM and the programme is flexible to cater for all identified vulnerable children in need of educational assistance,” Mr Masanga said.
“The programme has not been spared by the challenges in the macro-economic environment such as inflation which erode budgetary allocations resulting in payment delays to schools.
“It should be noted that all payments for the year 2022 were honoured except for a handful of schools which delayed in the submission of claim forms and those that submitted wrong school account details.
“It is important to note that for special schools, the Ministry fully paid all claims submitted to date. There are no arrears. BEAM programme was allocated a total of $805 087 608 000 for the year 2024, this will also cover 2023 arrears for mainstream primary and secondary schools.”
Mr Masanga said BEAM was targeting children in child headed households, in labour constrained households, orphaned children, children who are out of school due to financial constraints, children living and working on the streets and those left behind under the care of an incapacitated guardian.
“Selection of BEAM beneficiaries is done at community level. Nomination of potential beneficiaries can be done by anyone in the community including children themselves,” he said.