Govt puts over 500k children through school
Harare (New Ziana)- Over 500 000 school pupils received fees assistance under the Basic Education Assistance Module last year, as the government moved to ensure that every child is afforded the right to education despite their social and economic status.
Introduced in 2001, BEAM is a programme that provides school fees, examination fees, and levies for vulnerable children.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this was contained in the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) 2022 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report which was presented by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka.
“Government assisted 560 000 learners through the Basic Education Assistance Module, and reiterates its standing policy that no learner should be turned away for non-payment of school fees,” she said.
Tied to that, the government is also strongly enforcing laws against child marriages.
Some school going children have fallen prey to early marriages, thereby, in most instances, ending their chances of gaining an education.
“Pertaining to early marriages, the government will robustly monitor the legislation under the Marriages Act, while incorporating the local leadership in educational, publicity and awareness programmes in communities,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said the ZimVAC report also collected and analysed information on food security, social protection, agriculture production, household income, child nutrition, among other issues.
She said the report revealed that because of the bad rainfall season, rural households experienced food insecurity challenges.
“The rainfall season also affected livelihood strategies which include seasonal on-farm labour, livestock sales, vegetable production and sales, harvesting, and the sale and consumption of wild produce,” she said.
In light of that, the government had introduced several mitigatory measures including food aid schemes, cash transfers, and assisted medical treatment.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme had also assisted farmers with seed, fertiliser and herbicides, to shore up food supplies.
Under social protection, she said 61 percent of rural households received some form of support, with the government accounting for 67 percent of the support rendered.
Regarding water and sanitation, the assessment revealed that 78 percent of the communities had access to improved water sources.
“The household food security situation improved, with the proportion of households having borderline diets having decreased while households having poor food consumption increased to 36 percent. The proportion of households in the acceptable category also increased from 29 percent in 2021 to 35 percent in 2022.
“Government has instituted programmes to address the country’s dietary situation, notably the Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy, which has, as one of its components, the establishment of a village and agribusiness hub garden,” she said.
On the youth, the ZimVAC report noted that drug and substance abuse was a major challenge.
In response, the government had put in place an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Substance Abuse chaired by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
“Government has also set up five centres for the rehabilitation of youths affected by substance abuse, with a total of 600 substance abusers having gone through the centres.
“To address employment challenges, the government is implementing various job creation initiatives, including the provision of skills and entrepreneurship training for income generation projects by Vocational Training Centres and through Integrated Skills Outreach Programmes.”