Govt Rolls Out Free Education Pilot Project In 16 Rural Districts

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Govt Rolls Out Free Education Pilot Project In 16 Rural Districts

The Government says it has started rolling out a pilot project on State-funded education in 16 rural districts across the country.

The pilot project will be conducted in two rural districts in each of the country’s eight provinces. Bulawayo and Harare metropolitan provinces are excluded.

The programme is being implemented in primary schools only.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the pilot project will identify any loopholes that need to be addressed before the programme is rolled out across the whole country. The Herald quoted Ncube as saying:

We have taken the first step towards free education which was announced by the President.

We began by rolling out the programme in some selected districts so that we can test the approach and processes and model so that we don’t make mistakes going forward.

Once we are clear and satisfied with the results, we will roll it out across the whole country.

We are steadily moving forward to make sure no child is left behind and no place is left behind.

Bits of it (free education) had already started years back some of it is about packaging for example the BEAM programme.

So, we are just expanding that to cover more children and people with different levels of income. We are on our way to covering the whole country.

The Government pays schools fees to nearly two million pupils through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).

It also subsidises examination fees for all candidates in public schools and pays all the fees for Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) candidates on BEAM.

Senator Chief Siansali from Binga District, one of the two districts in Matabeleland North Province where the pilot project is being conducted, said:

Yes, Government has started implementing the free education policy in schools in Binga.

But in my engagements with school authorities, they have highlighted that there is a need to fine-tune the programme.

Funds are disbursed very late which affects the smooth running of the schools.

So during the time when funding has not been disbursed schools fail to operate and parents end up paying whatever they have so that schools are not brought to a halt.

Money comes but comes very late and sometimes it would be very little because the rate that they would have used it would have been overtaken by inflation.

A villager from Mangwe District said that the local school was implementing the policy but parents and guardians were requested to pay development levy.

More: Pindula News



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