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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 June 2016 42-69
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 21st June, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC SERVICE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House
that there will be a Catholic Service tomorrow 22nd June, 2016 at 1200 hours in the Senate Chamber. All Members are invited and non-catholic members are welcome.
CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON SDGs
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I also have to inform the
House that there will be a Capacity Building Workshop for the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all Chairpersons of Portfolio and Thematic Committees and Party Whips from the 23rd to 26th June 2016 at Amber Hotel, Mutare. The buses will leave Parliament at 1300 hours on Thursday.
HON. NDUNA: Mine is a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the point of order?
HON. NDUNA: I rise on a point of privilege Madam Speaker. I need this House to note that there is one of our members of staff that passed on, Cleopatra Jani. In the same manner Madam Speaker, that we recognise that one of our Members of Parliament would have passed on, I ask, with your indulgence, that we also give notice to the passing on of Madam Cleopatra Jani. She was a secretary to Mr. Samu who is also one of the managers of Parliament.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: While the Hon. Member has
brought this into the House, I think that was going to be taken care of but since he has brought it into the House, can all Members stand up to observe a minute of silence?
All Members stood and observed a moment of silence.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. RUNGANI: Madam Speaker, I move that Order of the Day Number One, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. KWARAMBA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing (Hon. Kasukuwere) having moved that tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd June, the provisions of Standing Orders Number 32, 5 and 139 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the Stages of Bills, respectively be suspended in respect of the Local Government Amendment Bill (H. B. 1, 2016).
HON. CHAMISA: I am sorry Madam Speaker. Just a point of clarification before the Clerk completes the reading of the second motion. I am not so sure what the Minister is intending to do considering – [Hon. Kasukuwere having stood up to go out of the House]
– Minister you may favour the House by sitting down to listen – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Hon. Member, you are taking my duty. Hon. Minister, can you please take your seat?
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will never take your duties ever again. Thank you so much. Hon. Minister, I see that you have just placed a notice that you intend to.....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would you please address the
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have seen that the Minister has already put the notice to say that he is going to move for the standing down of certain Standing Orders, meaning they are going to be suspended, especially in the context of a Bill where outreach programmes are being undertaken. Is this not a slap in the face to parliamentary processes that are supposed to be in the Constitution because I do not think the notice is supposed to come at this juncture when people are still contributing to the input because it would be a smack of arrogance of the highest order, Madam Speaker, for the Speaker to be abused in this fashion, to say the Minister comes and he wants us to suspend certain standing rules before we have exhausted processes of Parliament? Are we all supposed to exhaust processes of
Parliament? This notice, I think, is misbegotten and misconceived –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
Order Hon. Maridadi. I think the Minister was just suspending the stages of the presentation of a Bill, but once the Committees are through with their hearings and so forth, they will come and report to this House. There is no problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am waiting for you Hon. Members. All the stages will be taken care of.
There is no problem.
HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, I thought the Minister was going to withdraw.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. The
Honourable Minister was just giving a notice then tomorrow, he will move. If you have to object, it will be up to you tomorrow, not to object a notice – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
PAN-AFRICAN MINERALS UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY BILL, [H. B. 10, 2015]
Second Order read: Committee Stage: Pan-African Mineral
University of Science And Technology Bill, [H. B. 10, 2015].
House in Committee.
Clause 1 put and agreed to.
On Clause 2;
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name on Clause 2, that on page 4, the definition of “Minister” to
be deleted and replaced by––
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development or whoever is assigned the administration of this Act.”
On page 4, the definition of “Secretary” to be deleted and replaced
“Secretary” means the Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education,
Science and Technology Development.” Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 put and agreed to.
On Clause 5:
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Chair, I thank you for giving me this
opportunity. I need to make a call in that section for the initial programmes; at entry that it be put on record that we go out of the norm of doing business or of recruiting students in that university where the requirement is certificates, mature entry, diplomas and so on. If we continue to go that route, let us also add onto the recruitment for these programmes, the issue to do with artisanal miners, where they come into that university utilising experience. If it is put on record, it will make sure that it digresses from the normal mature entry but will also embody, encompasses and is embedded in terms of experience. Artisanal miners, if we leave them without being incorporated in this section; if they do not get entry in these initial programmes, utilising their experience, they would have been left out completely and left out in the fringes or in the margins of our economy. It will not complete the circle of continental integration.
We have imported this university programme or university ethos from the Pan African entity, where Ghana has decriminalised artisanal mining. There is no more chikorokoza in Ghana; there is now formalisation of artisanal mining.
So, continental integration, which is what Africa Union was founded for, can now be imported into this Pan African University through the notice or giving the right stage to the artisanal miners. The issue to do with SADC industrialisation strategy enunciated in 2015 can also be brought in by noting and making sure we notice the artisanal miners at the initial programmes by recruiting them, utilising their experience. We also in the same vein, in the beneficiation and value addition, formalise the informal sector by noticing and giving the right impetus and the right stage to artisanal miners.
In conclusion, when they go through those programmes, they need to be recognised with the same certificates and degrees that are going to be afforded the other people who have diplomas and certificates that also go through the same programmes.
HON. DR. GANDAWA: Thank you Mr. Chair. I note the contribution by the Hon. Member but what he is implying is covered by maturing entry. All our universities take note of maturing entry and that particular aspect is not covered in the Act but is covered by ordinances that run the institutions. I thank you Mr. Chair.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO):
Order Hon. Members at the back, you are complaining that I am not audible enough but you are making a lot of noise – [HON. CHIBAYA:
G40.] – Hon. Chibaya, I did not ask for any interpretation from you.
Clause 5, put and agreed to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
Clause 6 put and agreed to.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, if you have nothing to
do in this Chamber, please may you walk out and do your business outside.
Clauses 7 to10 put and agreed to.
On Clause 11:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name on Clause 11 that:
On page 8, Clause 11 sub clause (1) to be deleted and substituted with the following-
“The Pro Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed by the Chancellor after consultation with the Minister and the Council, and shall hold office for such period as is provided in his or her contract of employment.”
On page 8, Clause sub clause (4) delete “Secretary, who shall, in consultation with the Minister” and substituted with “Minister, who shall in consultation with Chancellor and Council”.
Amendment to Clause 11 put and agreed to.
Clause 11, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 12:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that on Clause 12; On page 9, clause 12 (e) to be deleted so that (f) becomes (d) and (d) becomes (e) and the same changes should apply to the subsequent sub-clauses.
Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 13:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that on Clause 13 that on page 9, Clause 13 (b) deletion of
“the Information Technologist”.
Amendment to Clause 13 put and agreed to.
Clause 13, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 14 to15 put and agreed to.
On Clause 16:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that on Clause 16 on page 11, Clause 16(2) and (3) to be deleted so that sub-clauses (4) becomes (2).
Amendment to Clause 16 put and agreed to.
Clause 16, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause 17, to 21 put and agreed to.
On Clause 22:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR.
GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that: On page 13, Clause 22 (i) by the insertion of the following - “with the approval of the Minister” after the word “Council.”
Amendment to Clause 22 put and agreed to.
Clause 22, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 23:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR.
GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name on Clause 23 that: On page 13, Clause 23 (i) by the insertion of the following – “with the approval of the Minister” after the word
Amendment to Clause 23 put and agreed to.
Clause 23, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 24 to 27 put and agreed to.
On Clause 28:
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (DR.
GANDAWA): Mr. Chair, I move the amendment on Clause 28 that: On page 15, Clause 28 (i) (a) by the deletion of “retired judge” and insertion of “Pro Vice-Chancellor”.
Amendment to Clause 28 put and agreed to.
Clause 28, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 29 to 36 put and agreed to.
Schedules Section 2 and 33 put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR.
GANDAWA): I move that Order of the Day, Number 3 be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR.
GANDAWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2016.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE
ADMINISTRATION OF THE BASIC EDUCATION ASSISTANCE
HON. KWARAMBA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio
Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the
Administration of the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
HON. KWARAMBA: INTRODUCTION
The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) is a Government social protection programme administered by the Ministry of Public
Service, Labour and Social Services in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. It is a nationwide school fees assistance programme aimed at reducing the number of school drop outs due to economic hardships which result in parents and guardians failing to pay tuition fees, levies and examination fees. The programme is targeted at children who have never been to school, orphans and other vulnerable children. Since the establishment of the BEAM in 2002, 5 442 352 children have benefited from the programme. Pursuant to its oversight role and cognisant of the integral role played by the BEAM in poverty eradication, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was compelled to conduct an inquiry into the administration of the programme.
The objectives of the inquiry were as follows:
- to have insight into the BEAM social protection programme;
- to establish whether BEAM reaches the targeted beneficiaries;
- to assess whether Community Selection Committees (CSCs) are adhering to stipulated procedure;
- to ascertain challenges being faced by BEAM beneficiaries and administrators; and
- to appreciate how BEAM is improving the accessibility of education and achievements made to date.
The Committee received oral evidence and written submissions, from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. The
Committee conducted fact-finding visits to schools in Harare from 8 to
11 June, 2015and held meetings with school authorities, Community Selection Committees (CSCs), students benefitting under the BEAM programme and members of the community. The schools visited are:
- Shingirai Primary School in Mbare;
- Mbare High School in Mbare;
- Muguta Secondary School in Epworth;
- Zengeza 3 High School Chitungwiza; and
- Zengeza Main Primary School in Chitungwiza
COMMITTEE FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is the custodian of the BEAM programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as an implementing partner. At the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services the programme is run by a BEAM Project Management Unit (PMU) which falls under the Department of Child Welfare and Probation Services. The PMU receives and verifies school claims, captures information from schools, creates payment schedules and disburses funds to school accounts.
The major role of local authorities and headmasters of primary schools is to facilitate the annual setting up of CSCs and dissemination of information regarding BEAM. CSCs comprise of three members of the School Development Committee (SDC) and 6 to 8 community representatives who are elected by the respective community and should have considerable knowledge of the area. The CSC is mainly responsible for selecting beneficiaries of the BEAM programme at ward level from applications made by prospective students every year. Selection is usually done through evaluation of information on the application form, household visits and interviews against the yearly allocated amount for the respective school.
CSCs use the following criterion in selecting student applications for the
- Orphans with both parents deceased;
- Orphans with one parent deceased;
- Children in foster care under poor parents;
- Children who have never been to or have dropped out of school due to poverty (economic hardships);
- Children living in the streets;
- Children living with disability and are from poor households;
- Children living in child headed households;
- Children who have previous records of failure to pay fees and levies;
- Bread winner not gainfully employed; and
- Bread winner chronically ill.
The Committee was informed that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services conducts routine spot checks on 10% of the beneficiary schools every term to flag out possible system bottle necks and to check on compliance with the BEAM Operational Manual. The main objectives of scheduled monitoring visits include: establishing whether schools have credited received BEAM funds in line with the purpose of disbursement, accurate issuance of receipts to beneficiaries, ascertaining if the selection process was conducted in line with provided guidelines and to collect stakeholders’ views on the programme. The provincial and district officers from the two implementing Ministries are obliged to monitor implementation of the BEAM programme in schools to enforce policy compliance. Investigations are conducted on reported cases and school heads are advised to rectify anomalies accordingly. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare officials reported to the Committee that schools overwhelmingly comply with the BEAM programme policy regulations. Headmasters were not turning away BEAM beneficiaries from schools for non-payment of fees as confirmed by both students and members of the community during the Committee's visits to schools. Furthermore, the Ministry officials informed the Committee that schools recorded programme funds and issued individual receipts although a significant proportion had challenges with accuracy of receipting.
However, the Committee learnt with concern that Ordinary Level BEAM beneficiaries at Muguta Secondary School, headed by Mr. Motsi, were required to pay examinations fees for all subjects, while the BEAM programme is supposed to cover examination fees for six subjects per student. At the time of the visit to the school, the Committee observed that only one student benefitting from the programme had paid examination fees for 9 subjects, and one student had not paid at all. The same trend was observed at Mbare High School and Zengeza 3 High School, where students on the BEAM programme and members of the community highlighted that they had been requested to pay school fees and Ordinary Level examination fees which were never refunded. Although there were promises of reimbursement, the Committee learnt that the headmaster of Zengeza 3 High School continued to defer actual repayment. In addition, the Committee was disturbed to learn that contrary to claims by headmasters that students on the BEAM programme were treated equally with their counterparts; Zengeza 3 High School BEAM beneficiaries' 2015 first term school reports had been withheld and only given to students a few days before the Committee’s visit on 10 June 2015.
Challenges Encountered in the Administration of the BEAM
The Committee was informed that the administration of the programme is impeded by several challenges including:
- BEAM funds are not adequate to meet the need for school fees assistance
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services informed the Committee that the BEAM programme is currently funded by the Government and Department for International Development
(DFID), a funding partner. Partners such as the European Union and the Canadian International Development Agency have since withdrawn from funding the programme due to changes in organisational interests. The Committee was further informed that the 2015 National Budget allocation of $US 7 million towards the BEAM programme only constituted 22% of the ideal budget. Schools are allocated budgets to select the neediest children commensurate with the provided resources. Most schools raise levies each year against a static BEAM budget, thereby reducing the actual number of children benefitting from the programme. The 2012 BEAM Evaluation Report noted the need to increase BEAM funds by 172%.
All stakeholders appreciated the assistance rendered by the BEAM, in affording students from poor backgrounds opportunities to learn and improve their future prospects of leading better lives. However, parents noted that BEAM assistance ends at form four and does not cover Advanced Level and tertiary education. This ultimately results in disappointment for beneficiary students who pass Ordinary Level examinations as they can neither afford to advance their education nor find formal employment and most commonly end up becoming airtime vendors.
Late disbursement of funds from the Treasury
The Committee learnt that, as at the time of the visit, BEAM programme payments had last been remitted to schools during the second term of 2013 and the 2015 Ordinary Level examinations fees had not yet been paid. Headmasters bemoaned that delays of payments derailed school development projects. In addition, delays in the allocation of funds to schools and consequently, late selection of beneficiaries creates uncertainty as to whether the BEAM programme will pay fees or not. During visits to schools, the Committee was informed that the 2015 BEAM programme allocations to schools had not been announced and the selection process had not yet been undertaken by mid-year. This leads to anxiety and loss of confidence in the programme by schools, parents, guardians and beneficiary students who regularly attend classes with no cases of drop-outs recorded at the five schools visited by the Committee. Pledges of payments are made every year through the National Budget allocation for the BEAM programme and the expected deadline of remittance of funds to learning institutions is the last week of each school term. The Committee was informed that due to delays in disbursement of school allocations and selection of beneficiary students, parents or guardians whose children fail to qualify for the BEAM programme are notified late in the year and they would have accrued debts of fees and levies to schools.
Rejection of BEAM funds deposited into school bank accounts The Committee was informed that 78 cases of rejected BEAM deposits were recorded in 2013 due to changes of account numbers by schools without notifying the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Services, which delayed remittance of payments.
Secondary schools do not have separate Community Selection
The Committee learnt that secondary schools do not have CSCs and refer students in need of assistance to CSCs of feeder primary schools for application purposes. This is a cumbersome process for both students and school authorities. For instance, the headmaster of Mbare High School informed the Committee that the school has nine feeder primary schools. The Committee observed that beneficiaries of BEAM encounter difficulties in the transition from primary to secondary education level as they are required to pay cash upfront before enrollment. No measures have been put in place to ensure that students on the BEAM programme at primary school level will continually benefit from the programme till completion of secondary level education as application and selection is done yearly. The Committee also noted that it was difficult for secondary school students whose economic circumstances change for the worse to gain entry into the programme as they have to apply at the nearest primary school against odds, such as; communication barriers, stiff competition for the small allocation with other needy primary and secondary levels students, amongst others.
BEAM payments only cover school fees, levies and examination
fees for six subjects
The Committee was informed that while the BEAM programme
cater for school fees, levies and examination fees for six Ordinary Level subjects, most beneficiaries cannot afford complete school uniforms, stationery and other basic needs, such as food. Students at Muguta Secondary School informed the Committee that they were sometimes punished or turned away from school for improper dressing.
Furthermore, BEAM only pays examination fees for six subjects at Ordinary Level irrespective of the student's ability to tackle more subjects. This ultimately limits future academic and career options for students whose parents or guardians cannot raise examination fees for more subjects.
The Committee also learnt with concern that BEAM beneficiaries at Zengeza 3 High School were not allowed to select subjects of their choice when registering for examinations of the six Ordinary Level subjects catered for by the BEAM programme. The students informed the Committee that they were instructed to leave out Geography, Commerce and practical subjects. This has the potential of disadvantaging students who perform well in these subjects. In addition to that, beneficiaries at the same school are barred from fully participating in practical subjects, such as Food and Nutrition where they are only allowed to do the theoretical part of the subject and not the practical aspect, which is food preparation.
Lack of awareness of the BEAM programme
The Committee observed that members of the community and students generally lack understanding of the BEAM programme. Parents and students do not know where to lodge complaints, with the CSCs only visible during the selection process. A student at Zengeza 3 High School reported that he was once informed that he had qualified for assistance under the BEAM programme at the local primary school where he had submitted his application only to be told that was not the case by the headmaster at his school, but did not know where to seek clarification or redress.
In addition, some parents at Zengeza Main Primary School disclosed to the Committee that they did not even know the location of the district education offices. The Committee was informed that a lot of children of school going age are not attending school because they do not have birth certificates and communities are not aware that they are not a prerequisite for enrolment and application for the BEAM programme.
Annual turnover of CSC members
The BEAM Operational Manual stipulates that CSCs should be elected every year, a period which in the Committee's view is too short for operational efficiency. During visits to schools, the Committee in most cases held meetings with 2014 CSC members who could provide detailed information because 2015 CSCs had not yet received any induction. The Committee observed that the incoming 2015 CSC at Shingirai Primary school were not conversant with their duties and responsibilities as compared to their outgoing counterparts, indicative of no proper handover-takeover having taken place between the two
The Government should mobilise adequate resources to ensure that all children access basic education every year. BEAM funds should increase yearly rather than decrease. The BEAM programme should be extended to cover examinations fees for all subjects of the student's choice.
BEAM programme allocations per school should be announced at the beginning of each year to facilitate selection of applicants by CSCs and enable schools to plan effectively from January 2017.
Once a student becomes a beneficiary of the BEAM programme at primary school level, they should benefit consistently till completion of their secondary education level without having to reapply each year.
Establishment of separate CSCs for primary and secondary schools by June 2016, to facilitate easier processing of applications. The term of office of CSCs should be increased from 1 year to 2 years in order to improve efficiency. Headmasters should facilitate immediate induction of new CSCs members as soon as they are voted into office and adequate handover-takeover between incoming and out-going CSCs.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should continuously conduct vigorous awareness campaigns to schools and communities on the BEAM programme and operational manual. In addition, effective communication systems to update communities and students on developments pertaining to the programme should be established.
There must be adequate monitoring over implementation of the
BEAM programme by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education at all times to ensure adherence to procedures and stern disciplinary measures should be taken against defaulters with effect from June 2016. The Government should urgently revive local industry and support the small and medium enterprises sector to create employment for ablebodied individuals, to enable them to provide for their children, including; payment of school fees.
Universal primary education was one of the eight Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) under the 2000 Millennium Declaration now transformed into Sustainable Development Goals, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory. It is disheartening to note that 2015, the implementation deadline of the MDGs has come and gone, but we are still found lacking in the provision of basic education for our children. According to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, the 2016 National Budget allocation of US$10 million towards the BEAM programme will only cater for 161 102 children out of an estimated 500 000 children in need of school fees assistance. This may result in a high rate of school drop-outs leading to reduction in human capital investment, early marriages and high juvenile delinquency. The BEAM programme is a positive initiative towards provision of basic education, but the Government can still do more by providing free basic State-funded education as stipulated by Section 75 of the Constitution and upholding other child rights in the Declaration of Rights and the Children's Act [Chapter 5:06].
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me begin by thanking Hon. Kwaramba for presenting the Report of the Committee on
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, on the findings and observations of the Committee on the Basic Education Assistant Module.
Hon. Speaker, let me start by reminding the House on the groupings in terms of eligibility that the Selection Committees at community level target when they want to do the selection.
The following are the grouping - orphans with both parents deceased, orphans with one parent deceased, children in foster care under poor parents, children who have never been to, or have dropped out of school due to poverty or economic hardships, children living in the streets –destitutes, children living with disability and are from poor households, children living in child-headed households, children who have previous records of failing to pay school fees and levies, bread winner not gainfully employed and bread winner chronically ill. This is the deserving list of the candidates or beneficiaries that the Selection Committees at community level target.
Hon. Speaker, we are talking about this report and the findings of the Committee at a time when we know everything else is not working.
When you look at the list, you say do we have employment in this country; you find that many are not employed. Are there many industries operating? The industry is not operating at 100%. You ask do we have money and you will also find out that we do not have money. There are those parents who have been selling or working just to find food on the table for the children who are going to school on BEAM without actually getting what they are supposed to get in terms of feeding. Then you look at a child who has gone to school, who is supposed to have a uniform and food. So, the target group talks for itself Hon. Speaker.
I would actually want to advocate for the abolishing of the demand for uniforms, food and also the food provision at the school level where we have the feeding schemes targeting the BEAM beneficiaries. Already there is no food at home, the father is not working or the mother is late, maybe the child is coming from a child-headed household where there is no food. So, it is a crisis at home, hence the child should not be punished twice by going to school without food and also being turned away because they do not have a uniform and also fainting at a school assembly because the child would have not taken anything since morning. So, I am proposing that we also look at the avenue of saying; we should not be seeing children on BEAM being returned home because they are not in uniform since it is not by their own choice.
Then, the rest of the report Hon. Speaker, you will find out that it points at Government; what it should do in terms of improving the
BEAM’s operations and resource mobilisation. I would also call upon the Government to target more partners who can also put their money in terms of getting BEAM on its feet because the more the parents are falling victim of unemployment and the more the parents are falling victims of HIV/AIDS, then the more children we have that deserve BEAM.
In actual fact, Hon. Speaker, it tends out to be that all those deserving children who are supposed to benefit from the BEAM scheme are not benefiting. If it is a selection at a particular school, when the
Committee went out to the communities, you would find that it is not every deserving child who is being selected to be on BEAM because the resources are not enough. So, the Government should mobilise more resources, engage more partners even turn on to private, public partnership and also turn to the communities to mobilise more resources in terms of getting all the children back to school.
There was once a time when Zimbabwe in the early 80’s was one of the best countries in terms of having enrollment at the school but at the moment those who deserve to be in schools are no longer in schools because of several other reason and the target groups are also falling on this particular list.
I would also want to thank the Committee for what it has done, for doing as much as they could in terms of getting information but the ball is in the Ministry’s court, through Government to mobilise more resources, improve the functions and the role of those who go to inspect whether the Community Selection Committees are operational and doing their job. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am just going to touch on a few key points. I would like to applaud the Chair of the Committee for presenting the report on BEAM. I also want to congratulate the
Committee for coming up with a holistic, well rounded report on
Mr. Speaker, she touched on the issues of universal primary education for all which also was in the Millennium Development Goals now turned SDG’s which is also enunciated in our Constitution, Section 75. Mr. Speaker, we know as we stand today, like the former speaker has said, that our economy is not performing as well as it used to. We see that primary education is not being well financed by this BEAM initiative as it used to be financed some time ago. However, I need to go and digress, to speak and think outside the box in that we have schools that are in the rural areas, we also have schools that are in the urban areas. The schools that are in the urban areas are endowed with land around them in the local authority areas. Those schools should be given land and indulge in education with production, so that out of the output of that land and agricultural processes, they should be able to use that money to pay fees for those children that cannot pay fees. This will be a mitigatory factor in the absence of the BEAM initiative because a day lost Mr. Speaker, is not a day gained. We lose a day in a child’s life, we will never get it back again. So, this brings me to the point that says, universal primary education is not complete if children are not going to go to school because there is no input from Government in the form of
Mr. Speaker Sir, the second point that I want to touch on is to do with a moratorium where parents that have not been able to pay fees for their children, who are not under BEAM - as long as they are still in school, schools should give them a grace period to pay their fees in the future when the economy starts improving because as long as our children are out of school, we are destroying their future, hence we are destroying the future of this nation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I touched on the schools in the urban areas. The schools in the rural areas are in places which are embedded with natural resources - in particular, our God-given finite resource of mineral wealth. We need to give each school in those areas Mr. Speaker Sir, mines, if the mines are there and we employ equals of Agritex officers in agriculture. Those that can teach the people or the parents of children in those schools mining ventures and mineral extraction so that they utilise the mineral wealth of those areas to pay fees for the children that are not going to school.
This is the new norm. If we continue to ignore the abstract way of doing business, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot as a nation. The issue where schools are supposed to give moratorium or to give a grace period to the parents who are unable to pay their fees for those children who are not under BEAM, for those children that cannot afford their fees at the moment, should also inculcate that same culture in the headmasters. It has been said since time immemorial that they should not chase away children from school, lest we destroy the future of the nation. However, the solution that I have got for those headmasters that chase away children from school whilst Government is paying the teachers, should be sentenced to death by hanging. This is the new norm. If we do not indulge in that, we are hanging the future of the nation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the only tradable asset that we have at the moment, as has been alluded to, by the previous speaker, including the Minister of Finance, is export oriented commodity and what are we able to export as a nation in this economic hard times that we are going through is Gold. So when I speak of schools and institutions being given mines, I speak from the bottom or the oracles of my heart to say, this is the only thing that we have got. Let us optimally utilise it – distribute it in the same manner that Kaddafi distributed the oil of Libya to the citizens of that country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I make a clarion call that we think outside the box because we do not have the money that we are utilising as a nation. We do not print US dollars but we print them using our God-given mineral wealth, which is Gold. Let us give those mines to those schools. Let us optimally utilise those resources to pay for the fees. Albeit the future of our children, let us pay for their future using our God-given natural resources. Whilst we speak of BEAM which is a non-event as we speak because Government does not have its contributing part, let us look at what it is that we have. To use that we have to get what we want.
As I conclude, the issue of limiting subjects for children that are gifted, we are also limiting our scientific potential. We are limiting our future rocket scientists. We have, as we speak, because of our modern day technology, the future of tomorrow imbedded in our children. Whether they are street children or they are children of normal households, they are knowledgeable in that we have not exploited their intelligence. So, by limiting the number of subjects that they are indulged in because of our limited resources, we are limiting our future capacity of indulging in technological advancement.
The last thing that I want to say is that the children that have been spoken about by the former speaker are children that have both parents late, children that have one surviving parent, those that have no parent who is working and so forth. However, I want to speak about the children that are termed aliens or children of those that are termed aliens, who have no birth certificates, who have no IDs, who have not been given the right to form part of our national interest, both economically and population wise. We should immediately rubbish the issue to do with alienism and all those children should be given birth certificates because they have been born and bred here. If you find a two or three year old child speaking in Shona, Nambya, Tonga, English and in
Ndebele and is here in Zimbabwe. Which other country do they know? We should immediately conduct a forensic and scientific research to determine why these children are being disenfranchised by being called aliens so that we bring them into the mainstream universal education system which is ‘free primary education for all’ in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate and I say, let us remove the tag of alienism in our children for the good of the future of our nation. I thank you.
*HON. BUNJIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this report. I want to thank Hon.
Kwaramba for bringing this report to this House. People in the rural areas are encountering many challenges in registering for the BEAM programme. What I have observed in some of the schools that I visited is that there is a bad relationship between the headmaster and parents. Parents are accusing headmasters of registering their relatives under
BEAM. There are also instances of children who are removed from the BEAM programme when they had previously had their school fees paid for by BEAM. Some children are removed from the BEAM programme when they are in their final year and preparing for examinations. This is done without any explanation to the parents.
Most of the children placed under the BEAM programme are relatives or those known to the headmaster and this is a major concern to the parents. Some headmasters are complaining that the Government is not releasing enough funds that are necessary to cater for all the children who are under BEAM and this results in the little funds available being not enough to cater for all the children under BEAM.
The Government should provide free education for all children. This is because even those who are not under BEAM cannot afford the school fees and many children are being sent home due to non-payment of fees. However, those who are mainly affected are those children who are under the BEAM programme because they are looked down upon in their communities despite it being not their fault that they cannot afford to pay school fees. I therefore plead with the Government to provide free education for all children. I thank you,
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you for the report that has been tabled by Hon. Kwaramba and her Committee as regards to BEAM. It shows that there are still some children that are still not enjoying the right to go to school. We have observed that children in the communal lands, the majority of them are not attending school because there is no one who is paying for their school fees.
One of the children that we had the opportunity to meet is a product of rape. The mother was infected with HIV and she died. There was no one able to provide for this child. The problem is that there were too many requirements that the child failed to provide so that she could be entitled for BEAM. The child walks about 20km to school for the reason that the nearest schools were closed because of lack of teachers. This is an abuse to the children because throughout their lives, they are experiencing hardships due to the corruption that is associated with
BEAM and distances are another factor.
Seven hundred school children for one teacher is not a good ratio. The child will remain poor because she cannot do practical subjects because of lack of funds. Without practical lessons, the child cannot be in a position to sustain themselves. As an orphan, they cannot access tertiary education at the university.
BEAM offers just six subjects for a pupil and these subjects are minus practical subjects. As a result, they are unable to self sustain due to lack of education in practical subjects. This is a sorry state of affairs; the child is disadvantaged because the mother was initially raped. The parents were lost during period when the pupil was a child. We urge those that are in the selection process to be empathetic towards the issue of the children.
Members of BEAM have fantastic hairstyles. They change them weekly and are living quite well. They are living large whilst some children are failing to go to school. The Government should ensure that this is put right and should come up with other means to raise the funding for BEAM because the same Government is saying that it does not have sufficient funds for that. A 2% levy should go towards education.
A lot of people are poverty stricken. A lot of children in the communal lands are not going to school. They are illiterate because no one pays for their school fees. While they access this education, there is high pupil/teacher ratio of 1:700. It is a situation I can be proverbial with that ‘from the frying pan into the fire’. The percentage from the Sovereign Wealth Fund should also be used for supporting children who are needy. The majority that are being entitled to assistance through the BEAM programme are not correct candidates for that. The majority were corruptly given the chance to access this. Deserving children are left out because of strenuous vetting rules. The rules should be made loosened.
The Ministry of Public Service should be more practical oriented, going out there to find out what the headmaster and the parents are doing. The Ministers need to go to Gutu impromptu to find out the correct state of affairs. Some Government employees mislead Government Ministers and as a result the Ministers end up acting on wrong information. They should go there announced just like we do as
Committees. I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*HON. TARUSENGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Firstly, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Kwaramba and the Seconder, Hon. Mpariwa. The majority of the schools that we visited show that this is the picture of what is happening in the entire parts of Zimbabwe. First and foremost, I would want to mention the issue of the Community Selection Committee. This Committee should be responsible for selecting candidates that should access BEAM. Our observation is that this is not what the Committee is doing; there are nine members of the Committee including the headmaster who should be doing this work. We noted that the headmaster and the SDC handpick one another and members do not come from the community contrary to the belief that members should come from the community. This gives the opportunity for corruption to thrive and as a result, beneficiaries are corruptly selected.
Secondly, our observation was that the school fees for school children that should be entitled to the BEAM scheme or project takes a long time to be paid. This lengthy delay in the payment or the disbursement of the fees, we see people like Members of Parliament will start to pay school fees for these needy children contrary to what is enshrined in Sections 27 and 75 of our Constitution.
It is the duty of the Government to pay or ensure that there is funding for BEAM, but eventually it ends up being a burden on an individual. There is also mention of free basic education but our observation is that the children are not actually learning but are spending a lot of time traveling – they are learning poverty. Children that are on BEAM are not having it rosy. This scheme covers up to university but we are not seeing children that are enjoying this basic education going as far as university level.
What we are observing is that the literacy rate in Africa is for example, Tunisia is at the first and Zimbabwe second, because of the problems that are bedeviling the project. As a result of our Government abdicating its authority on responsibility, it would mean that the programme is now in jeopardy [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members.
*HON. TARUSENGA: The observation as regards the payment
of school fees to children that are entitled to the BEAM project, the law stipulates that their fees be disbursed by Government through BEAM. The headmasters force parents to pay for examination fees for these needy children. How can a child of a needy parent be able to pay for examination fees when they cannot afford to pay school fees? The problem is that once a child has attained Grade 7 and now want to proceed to Form 1 using the same programme, parents are forced to pay regardless of whether the child has scored 7 points or more.
The headmasters insist on payment of fees upfront even to a child who is on the BEAM scheme. These are issues that our Government should closely look into and redress so that the project can get back on trail and work well. I thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I will be very short. Let me begin by congratulating the Committee that made an inquiry into a very important aspect that looks at our young children. On the same note, I wish to congratulate the Government for coming up with the Basic Education Assistance Module in an effort to satisfy what is contained in our Constitution on Section 75 for the right of education to every Zimbabwean child.
Hon. Speaker, the Committee led by Hon. Kwaramba could have done us justice, if they could have invited the Committee on Education,
Sports, Arts and Culture so that they conduct an inquiry together. If they had done this, the inquiry in my view was going to be quite holistic and thorough. I am not impressed Hon. Speaker that the Committee, but I know it is not of their own making, it is a problem to do with resources that are availed to them. If resources were being availed by Parliament, it was going to be more ideal and representative for the Committee to have gone out to the rural areas to make a thorough inquiry into the administration of BEAM. We notice here that they only covered those schools in urban areas and justice was not done in the rural areas. So, I think in future if resources are made available to Committees, we must be able to cover a wide margin and that is my observation Hon. Speaker.
I would want also to make a comment on the observation by Hon. Nduna. I think I do not buy-in his contribution that those headmasters that chase away students from schools should receive the death penalty. That is too harsh for a country to be driven into believing in such a kind of penalties. I think it is important that as parents also, for schools to develop, we must be able to part with little sums of money. We need to pay for our children so that our schools, be they in rural areas or urban centres, can develop. I know we are handicapped because the economy is not performing well, but at least we must make efforts as parents to pay for our children. That having been said, Mr. Speaker I wish to rest my case. I thank you.
HON. SITHOLE: I would also want to add my voice to this very important debate on the issue of BEAM. After hearing the report, I have learnt that the Government normally says it does not have money, and my debate is going to be very different from the other debates that you were hearing, because I beg to differ with most of the issues that have been raised. I actually think Government has money but it is an issue of priorities.
Why do I say so? Today, being a Tuesday marks the 556th day our Vice President is still staying at the hotel and that expense is being funded by the taxpayer. That money can be used to fund the BEAM programme. So, it is an issue of priorities Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] Going into the Constitution, Section 27 actually states that the Government must put in place measures to ensure that it provides free basic education to all, that is, primary, secondary and tertiary education. Also read in conjunction with Section 75 (2) of the Constitution.
My argument is Zimbabwe is too rich to be poor. We cannot tell our citizens that we cannot afford to pay BEAM for the simple reason that we are one of the highest diamond producing countries in the world. We have one of the largest deposits of methane gas. We have very huge deposits of underground resources Mr. Speaker. So, it is an issue that if you say the Government is broke, it is common knowledge that being broke in terms of finances goes hand in hand with being broke in terms of ideology.
Our Government should actually consult the people before making policies. For example, we have this recently controversial policy of the introduction of bond notes. The Government actually announced that we have a policy that we are going to introduce bond notes. After that announcement, that is when we saw the Government through the RBZ
Governor consulting people, after the announcement. The consultation process should be the first process, and then we have the announcement of the process after the consultation.
We also have the issue of the priorities that I am talking about. Recently, the whole Cabinet went on a retreat and on that retreat, some of the Ministers were actually drinking whisky which costs $250. We are talking of BEAM, fees for one student costs about $10, that amount would actually pay for 25 students. So, it is an issue of priorities that we should address. The Government must start walking the talk and not just talk, and when the lights are switched off, they practice differently. This morning Mr. Speaker, a parent came to me and he told me that he cannot afford to pay the bill and the local school has engaged debt collectors, and are in the process of attaching his property.
So, when we address these issues on BEAM, we should also address on the macro-economic causes of poverty in this nation. We have de-industrilisation that we have experienced as a nation and most of these parents are no longer employed because of the policies that this Government has been pushing – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – instead …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOK): Let
us not make noise in the House Hon. Members.
HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for protecting me from
Mr. Speaker, it took the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education only 72 hours to come up with a National Pledge which was not consulted, which is not even in the Constitution. The Constitution on Section 27 is very clear on the provision of free basic education, but the Minister who actually knows about that section is doing nothing about it while concentrating on these that I would call vulgar priorities Mr.
Lastly Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the issue of the brain drain that we are experiencing in this nation. We have educated people who are going out of the country because of issues to do with our industry which is not performing well and this has affected us negatively. Mr.
Speaker, I would like to define what I feel is a sanction that has been referred to by some Hon. Members here. A sanction is a measure that is put in place by anyone, that can be your Government, brother or sister; a measure that is put in place to inhibit you from doing anything. If your Government puts in place a policy that inhibits you from paying school fees for your children, that is a sanction –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] So, thank you Mr. Speaker
+HON. MKANDLA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to add my voice on the motion that was brought by my Chairperson. I want to thank the Chairperson, Hon. Kwaramba for bringing such an important motion in the National Assembly. I also want to thank the seconder of the motion Hon. Mpariwa. Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of BEAM is one important issue especially in rural areas. We realise that so many children would really want to further their education but they are failing to pay their fees.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to congratulate the Government of
Zimbabwe for it is really trying its best despite the economic hardships by trying to assist the few children it has assisted through BEAM. Through the BEAM which was created because of the bad economic and also HIV conditions that have left many children as orphans. You realise all the orphans are being taken care of by the grandmothers who are no longer able to work and feed those orphaned children.
We had a tour in most of the schools in Harare and we realised that there are so many things that are being done especially on the issue of corruption that was highlighted by the speakers who spoke before me. In most of the schools, the money that would have been allocated for BEAM is being used by students who are not supposed to be benefitting from that programme.
The other thing that I want to touch on is that from the schools that we toured. There are other students that are not allowed to do practical subjects. I think we should try to encourage them to do psycho motors. You realise that they will have something to do even after they finish their school. This will help them later on when they are done with their education.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I agree with Hon. Mandipaka who said if only this Committee had a joint tour with the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, we would get better results when we combine the work of these two Committees. You realise that a student who benefits from BEAM is coming from primary and BEAM is being paid by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. If only the students who are under BEAM could also be under BEAM even when they are doing their Higher and Tertiary Education, for if parents are failing to pay primary school fees, what more about secondary, higher and tertiary fees?
Mr. Speaker Sir, I once visited a certain school and what I discovered is that when BEAM funds were allocated to that school, the Headmaster from that school used the money for something else, and parents were asked to top up the fees for the students who are benefitting from BEAM. We realise the economic hardships that our country is going through. With these few words, I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. *HON. CHIVAMBA: As a member of the Committee that is chaired by Hon. Kwaramba, and on this motion seconded by Hon. Mpariwa, we thank the Committee for the investigations that they carried as regards the BEAM scheme. I am not going to dwell much on the nitty gritties of the BEAM, but it came about as a result of the Government having identified that it is useful to come up with such a programme by the Government of President Mugabe, that children should go to school and in the manner that is laid out as has been read by our Chairperson of the Committee.
There are some children that do not have parents and some that are orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. There are others that are poor with nothing at all. If you look at the issue of the Selection Committee, there is a problem. It needs to be rectified by the Headmaster, or the headmaster is also part of the problem which needs to be rectified. It would appear as if the issue of BEAM helps those that are poor and orphaned so that they are enabled to continue with their education because they are gifted. They are being disadvantaged because of either poverty or being orphaned which is a circumstance beyond their control.
The children are not going to benefit because of those that are leading the scheme or the project. These leaders should be taught the objectives of BEAM. The Committee should be in office for more than a year because a year in the office, the Committee will not have learned its ropes. They require at least two years to have been versatile in terms of the reference and the objectives. There should be proper hand over and take over for these Committees which should be observed. In the communal lands where we come from, there are children that are poor. If they complete Grade 7, talented as they are, it is unfortunate that they will not proceed to secondary education because of the Selection
Committee which is a barrier.
One becomes married before proceeding to Form 1, despite having produced good Grade 7 results. They would have been assisted because of the parents that are deceased. Why would there be another need to vet or to subject the child to a vetting process for secondary education because the same circumstances still prevail for that child? These candidates that are on BEAM should proceed to ‘A’ Level. So because of the issue of STEM, that is coming about, those talented students should be entitled to that as education. These less fortunate children that will have gone through BEAM should also be beneficiaries of STEM as a result of them having accessed education up to A Level and from there, they will proceed to the university.
If you look at our education, one has said that we are rated among the highest in Africa. Our children are going to universities. A first degree is no longer as powerful as it used to be, but a Masters is much more recognised. It means we should encourage BEAM so that it has sufficient funding by Government. The parent Ministry that disburses this funding owes money dating back to 2013. Let us urge the
Government and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to release funding for each year for the BEAM to be successful yearly so that children can enjoy their rights annually. This is enshrined in the Constitution, as has been said by previous speakers. I have already indicated that most of the points have already been said. I thank you.
*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I also want to thank Hon. Kwaramba and her Committee because of the report that they have tabled before us. It was an eye opener in terms of the state of affairs as it pertains to the country Zimbabwe. I would like to say I was touched by the issue of a child that will have been accessing BEAM at primary level. Upon qualifying to go to secondary education, they need to be vetted or that they no longer qualify. That is a hurdle that should be removed up until they reach the type or level of education that they are desirous of attaining. We should not put unnecessary bottlenecks in the education system for such disadvantaged children. Failure to remove this bottleneck will lead us into having a lot of street children and a lot of drop outs from school. Children that will have been accepted on the
BEAM should go as far as the sky. This will enable to assist that child.
A lot of children failed to write their examinations last year for failure to have paid their examinations fees. ZIMSEC is a local board.
Children that are beneficiaries of the BEAM, those that fail to raise the examinations fees should be allowed to write their examinations and the Government should be able to pay for their examination fees. We should not add insult to injury by allowing them to go to school initially and then bar them from writing the examinations. A lot of children in our constituencies are doing quite well and they are passing with flying colours up to ‘O’ level. Thereafter, that they cannot proceed because there is no BEAM. So it is a head ache to us as to how we can proceed so that these children can proceed with their education. It is my considered view that this BEAM scheme should be given to these children until they get to the university. The Government must be able to finance this project because every child is entitled to free education. It is every child’s right to go to school. They should grow the cake as far as the BEAM fund is concerned so that it will be able to end these problems for children that should benefit from BEAM. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much for allowing me to also add my voice to this motion. I want to also thank the Hon. Chairperson of Public Service Labour and Social Services, for introducing this motion. I know that a lot has been said and I will try by all means not to repeat what has been said; save to say Mr. Speaker Sir, the introduction of BEAM was one of the social protection measures that were introduced by Government to try and alleviate and also equip our poor and vulnerable members of our society so that they might have access to some of the basic services that exist in our society.
The aim of introducing BEAM was to ensure that even those that can afford to take their children to schools do that and then the poor and vulnerable should also be able to access quality education within the education system of the country. So, it is one of those various measures that Government introduced, like the one on health where Government is supposed to pay for health expenditure for the poor. It is also one of the measures, just like the cash transfers that are meant to ensure that the poor also have the capacity to make effective demand within the economy.
However, my view is that while all those social protection measures are important; right now what we halve realised in the last two to three years is that the Government of Zimbabwe is no longer able to meet its obligations in terms of social protection measures. I think in the last two years, we have been getting money from partners towards BEAM whilst the Government of Zimbabwe has failed to meet its obligation part of the BEAM and that is the reality that is on the ground. Now, what does it mean? What it means is that we have created a debt burden on the infrastructure of education in this country because what we are saying is that the Hon. Ministers are very good at giving instructions and saying everyone and anyone on BEAM should not be chased away from school for non-payment of the school fees. What does that mean? In means that burden on that school is accruing for a number of years when nothing is going to that school. What BEAM has now become is an issue of quantity in terms of education rather than quality because we are impoverishing the very schools that we want our children to get quality education.
BEAM, is supposed to pay money to the schools so that schools can improve the quality of education as well as the quantity. BEAM is supposed to assist the schools to get money to improve in terms of their infrastructure and delivery of education but because for the last two to four years, the Government of Zimbabwe has not been able to meet that obligation Mr. Speaker Sir, the level of indebtness in terms of this BEAM programme in schools is insurmountable. I doubt that there will be a time when Government will be able to clear that debt that they have. As I speak, the whole of 2015, Government disbursed nothing to schools and 2016 now, we are getting into the second half of 2016, Government has not been able to disburse anything to schools. It is not surprising when Government is now beginning to act like NRZ and other companies that are ailing which cannot meet its wage obligations obligations. Obviously, you do not expect that Government to meet other social protection.
So, what is my view? I know that there are some people here who think that …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you address
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, there are some Hon.
Members that are obsessed with sanctions but the issue that we are talking about right now is the issue of children of the ordinary man and woman, the orphans and the vulnerable who are supposed to get equal opportunities like anybody else in this society. The very Government that we are talking about, most of the Ministers have their children getting their education outside the country – either in South Africa,
Singapore, Malaysia and everywhere else.
We are saying even as the orphans cannot afford to go to Malaysia to obtain their education, as they cannot afford to go to universities in South Africa to obtain their education, why can Government not do what is right that is, affording the basic education within our own infrastructure. Right now as we speak, BEAM has just become a programme on paper. It is not there and in reality it is dead. We can blame the headmasters, the committees that are responsible for selecting but what matters most is the disbursement of the resources that are required to ensure that education that is provided as a service is paid for. That way we are able to maintain the quantity and quality of our education. Unless we do that, what we are simply doing is to depreciate the value of our education as we say because now everyone, I think even our children as MPs now are qualifying on BEAM because we are also as poor as everyone else in this country. Therefore, it means that it means that schools are now enrolling close to 90% of BEAM students but that BEAM is not being paid a single cent. So, what is the problem? It is the non-performance of the economy. The crisis that we are seeing in BEAM is merely a symptom of the problems that we have as a country. The riots also and demonstrations that we saw in Beitbridge, are nothing but merely a symptom again of the real problem that we have in this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, BEAM is not performing and I am sure the Chairperson of the Committee was bemoaning that there is nothing that is going to BEAM. Every time we go to Heroes Acre and insult the Western countries – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.] - we go to Heroes Acre and tell them that we do not care about their aid.
HON. MANDIPAKA: On a point of order! I want to believe the Hon. Member is a Zimbabwean national and I want to believe he understands the Constitution very well that we should give due respect to those people who perished because they were fighting for our liberation. So, if he blames the Heroes Acre, we take exception. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hapana point of order.]-
HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker, my apologies if I sounded – [HON. MANDIPAKA: Get away.]- As if I sounded demeaning the veterans of the liberation struggle. What I am trying to point out Mr. Speaker is that DFID is contributing towards BEAM; it is a form of aid to this country. Facts on the ground show that the last money that was paid towards BEAM came from DFID and it is a British Institution –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mandipaka!
Can you respect the Chair Hon. Mandipaka?
HON. P.D SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for your protection
but the point that I was trying to highlight is that the last amount of money that was paid towards BEAM came from foreign aid. The Zimbabwean Government last paid towards BEAM two to three years ago – [HON. MEMBER: How did you know that?] – I know it. Since
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member can you address
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Government of Zimbabwe last paid money towards BEAM in 2013, from 2014 up to date, the Zimbabwean Government has not paid anything towards BEAM. Therefore, it means right now, our Social Safety Net, literally speaking, is in the hands of foreigners. It is not in the hands of the Zimbabwean Government because it does not have the capacity to take care of the Social Safety Net of this country.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is my view that this BEAM programme, it is one of those programmes that we are selling nothing to the public.
We always tell the public that we are going to do this for you but in reality we are not doing anything for them. I think Mr. Speaker, it is as good as the Zimbabwean Government coming out clearly and telling the people of Zimbabwe that we cannot afford BEAM and therefore let each and every person see for themselves what they are going to do about the education of their children. Let us clearly pronounce as a Government that we have abandoned the poor, we have abandoned the vulnerable and the orphans. It does not make sense for the Government to pretend that it is paying for the vulnerable and the poor when it is simply giving a burden to the schools and how do you expect the schools to manage when you are not putting money into that programme. So, it is my view Mr. Speaker, that the Zimbabwean Government should come out clearly and say we have failed in terms of the BEAM programme and allow people to know that there is no more BEAM. BEAM is dead. I thank you.
*HON. GWANETSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. First and
foremost, I thank the mover of the motion Hon. Kwaramba and all those that have spoken on the issue of BEAM. A lot has been said, I am going to mention very few things. If I understand English very well, the acronym BEAM stands for Basic Education Assistance Module, but what we are referring to as basic education should assist those less privileged such as the vulnerable, the orphans and those that are poor. In our society, we are always going to have orphans and poverty.
It was my considered view that the Ministry responsible for the programme should look at changing this scheme from being basic to even secondary and tertiary education. That will enable the underprivileged, the orphans and the vulnerable groups to attain higher educational qualifications. Being orphan does not mean that you do not have the potential to scale the arising education. There are some that are very brilliant. They can be identified and become a very useful resource for this country.
My plea is that let us remove the word basic and come up with a better term that will be able to carry these children to tertiary education, through to university until the completion of their education. I thank you.
HON. RUNGANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MAVENYENGWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd June, 2016.
On the motion of HON. RUNGANI, seconded by HON. MAVENYENGWA, the House adjourned at Twenty Four Minutes to
Five o’clock p.m.