Govt will not deny education to less privileged children – Minister

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By Anna Chibamu

PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema says government will not allow any Zimbabwean child to drop out of school for failure to pay fees.

He was addressing journalists during Tuesday’s post-cabinet media briefing in Harare.

Mathema said it has always been government policy since independence to afford Zimbabwean children their right to education despite their unfortunate economic circumstances.

He said parents who could not afford school fees have received government support through the BEAM programme.

“I do not remember in the past 40 years since independence where government and parents have failed to look after their children in schools,” said the minister.

“We will do everything to make sure every child goes to school.

“The BEAM programme is still running to cater for those children whose parents cannot afford.”

Mathema’s remarks come barely 48 hours after Energy Minister and Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi was reported to have rescued hundreds of students whose parents were failing to pay fees for their kids at a primary school in his constituency.

In Gokwe-Nembudziya, MP Mayor Wadyajena was also said to have paid fees for children in his constituency after government failed to provide for them through BEAM.

Parliament’s education committee last week revealed the facility no longer existed as thousands of children were no longer attending school as government was struggling to fund them through the programme.

Meanwhile, Mathema has reiterated government was sticking to 28 July for national schools opening despite fears by unions that schools were not yet prepared to protect children from Covid-19.

Teachers unions have been up in arms with Zimbabwean authorities for attempts to expose both educators and school pupils to the virus after government has failed to ensure there was adequate preparation to prevent the spread of the disease among children.