The government has courted the ire of education stakeholders in Matabeleland after a leaked Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) list for 2021 showed that schools in Matabeleland were once again allocated the least funds.
BEAM is a government programme that pays Primary and Secondary education school fees for underprivileged students.
The outcry resulted in government suspending this year’s disbursements after it emerged that schools in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Midlands were allocated large chunks of the funds.
According to the list, BEAM was allocated ZWL$2 billion, of which stationery and administrative costs took off ZWL$500 million, leaving ZWL$1.5 billion to be distributed to disadvantaged children in both primary and secondary schools.
Manicaland received the highest BEAM allocation with primary schools receiving ZWL$54 300 000 while secondary schools received ZWL$36 200 000.
Mashonaland Central was second highest recieving ZWL$48 600 000 for primary schools and ZWL$48 600 000 for seondary schools.
Mashonaland West came third, with primary schools receiving ZWL$44 400 000 and secondary schools received $29 600 000.
Matabaleland North was seventh on the list with its primary schools receiving ZWL$24 900 000 and ZWL$16 600 000 for secondary schools.
Matabeleland South came eight on the distribution list, as it received ZWL$14 700 000 for its primary schools and ZWL$9 800 000 for secondary schools.
Bulawayo received the least allocation with ZWL$600 000 for primary schools and ZWL$400 000 for secondary schools.
One headmaster from Bulawayo queried the Beam allocation calling it a scandal.
“The current cycle Beam payouts to Zimbabwe schools trends and patterns has exposed huge differences. The allocation is scandalous, to say the least, figures for our schools in Bulawayo are so small compared to Harare and Mashonaland, why? What formula is being used because it seems the enrollment statistics we submitted were disregarded,” said the headmaster who requested anonymity out of fear of victimisation.
Another Headmaster from Tsholotsho queried whether this was a genuine mistake or this is the marginalisation we have as a region always complained about while being labelled cry babies?
“It showed a deliberately low distribution of funds in Bulawayo and Matabeleland regions than for other regions. No explanation is there for these trends in the distribution.”
Another concern raised was that schools had closed for the first term without the deserving learners receiving their BEAM fees.
Contacted for comment, Director Of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary School, Taungana Ndoro labelled the CITE journalist a separatist for seeking clarification on the discrepancies.
“I am worried that you are passing off as a separatist journalist rather than a national or inclusive one. 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 Public Service, Labour and Social Services. To insinuate that there is a deliberate low distribution of funds in particular regions is sad if not divisive especially when you disregard demographics with impunity,” he said.
Find the attached BEAM list: