The United Kingdom, a sworn enemy of Zimbabwe on paper, has bailed out the Zimbabwean government by providing funding for the Basic Education Assistance Module which was suspended last month because of lack of funding.
A statement from the UK’s Department for International Development circulated by former Education Minister David Coltart said the DFID will provide US$10 million next month to benefit 250 000 pupils at 5 415 primary schools.
Some 750 000 pupils were reportedly affected when the suspension of the programme was announced by Pubic Service permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka.
DFID urged the government to redouble its efforts to find additional funding sources for BEAM because this was likely to be the UK’s final contribution to the BEAM programme.
It also welcomed the government’s freeze on increases in school fees and levies for 2014 saying if the move was enforced it would reduce any fall in the number of children supported in 2014 under BEAM.
UK AID PRESS RELEASE
26 February 2014
UNITED KINGDOM TO PROVIDE BEAM FUNDING (BASIC EDUCATION ASSISTANCE MODULE) FOR 250,000 ZIMBABWE PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN 2014
The UK through its Department for International Development (DFID) will provide USD10 million next month that will benefit over 250,000 eligible BEAM primary school children in 5,415 primary and special schools throughout Zimbabwe this year. The funding will contribute to higher attendance and completion rates among orphans and vulnerable children.
The additional funding responds to the Government of Zimbabwe’s request to DFID last month to provide further support for BEAM in addition to the USD27 million provided in 2012-2013 which has already benefited hundreds of thousands of school age children.
The Head of the DFID office in Zimbabwe, Ms Jane Rintoul, said “the UK is very pleased to be able to provide this additional support which I know will make a huge difference to the lives of the children who will benefit along with their families and wider communities.”
DFID welcomes the Government of Zimbabwe’s policy directive to freeze increases on school fees and levies in 2014, a move which if enforced will help reduce any fall in the number of children supported in 2014 under BEAM.
DFID also encourages the Government of Zimbabwe to redouble its efforts to find additional funding sources for BEAM given that this is likely to be the UK’s final contribution to the BEAM programme.
BEAM is a Government of Zimbabwe social protection programme, implemented by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (MoPSLSW) under the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (NAP) II. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, (MoPSE) is a key implementing partner as it is responsible for the management of schools and at the impact level BEAM contributes towards Zimbabwe’s progress towards the internationally-agreed target of ensuring universal free primary education for all.
The UK’s contribution to BEAM will be managed through Crown Agents who will work closely with MoPSLSW and MoPSE to monitor the delivery of funds.
The UK through DFID expects to invest some $650 million in the four years between 2011 and 2015 to help ensure that the poorest people in Zimbabwe have access to basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation, of which around $100 million will be in the education sector.