The Basic Education Assistance Module (better known by its acronym BEAM) is a government programme that pays Primary and Secondary education school fees for students who cannot afford it in Zimbabwe. The programme is coordinated by the Department of Social Services (DSS) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Services

BEAM does not cover other materials needed for school such as uniforms, food, transport, books and stationery.

BEAM Background

BEAM was established in 2001 by the government of Zimbabwe as part of the Enhanced Social Protection Programme (ESPP) the objective was to provide basic education to everyone in Zimbabwe including students that could not afford the schoo fees such as Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). This was part of the policy of the government as well as global agreements that the Zimbabwean government is a signatory to.[1] Education is regarded as a human right by such frameworks as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (November 1999).

Zimbabwe's Education Act of 1987 also recognises education as a human right and declared it free. Before this education had been considered a privilege.[2]

In the early 90s however the government implemented a cost sharing approach where parents would also contribute to their children's school fees.

BEAM was designed to facilitate enrolment and retention of orphaned and vulnerable children in society by providing them with tuition fees, school levies and examination fees. It implemented in the country's 61 districts, that is both urban in rural areas.

Source of BEAM Funding

Up to the end of 2008 BEAM was wholly funded by the Government of Zimbabwe. Hyperinflation - 2008 around 2008 however reduced government's capacity to continue and NGOs stepped in to fund the programme.[1]Such NGOs include:


Disbursements

  • 2001 - 2008 : Unknown
  • 2009 - 2011: US$60.2 million (55% by government and 45% covered by Donors)
  • 2012: US$16 million (committed by GOZ)


BEAM Impact

BEAM has been referred to as "a highly relevant and necessary intervention, particularly in the poorest quartile of schools in terms of school income per learner, in which BEAM funds constitute 25% on average of school income" [1]


Criticism

It has bee noted that some students deserving of BEAM have not been able to access it. The the chairperson of the Council of Social Workers, Manyany said in 2012 that 'Not every child is accessing (BEAM) and this means that a considerable number of children are being denied their right to education'.[2]

Lack of transparency and corruption in the selection. Some Selection Committees have been accused of of selecting children influential people of society for example children of village heads, headsmen and (local government authorities). [2]


Getting BEAM Assistance

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harvey Smith, Patrick Chiroro and Paul Musker, 2012 Zimbabwe: Evaluation of the Basic Education Assistance Module Programme, UNICEF, Published: 2012, Accessed: 01 Oct 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mangwaya Ezron, IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BASIC EDUCATION ASSISTANCE MODULE (BEAM) PROGRAMME: THE CASE OF ZAKA NORTH DISTRICT IN MASVINC.) PROVINCE. , MSU Research, Published: unknown, Accessed: 01 Oct 2019