Zimbabwe implementing free primary education in stages because it does not have enough money


THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking that pertinent issue, the question of free education in Zimbabwe. At times I sit and wonder whether we can afford to pay full school fees. The truth of the matter is that we are willing and we want to pay school fees for every child in this country. We have a policy document, we have a Constitution, and we have an Act of Parliament in terms of the education sector that demands that we do exactly that.

As the National Assembly, we approved the budget. We have sat down before the end of the year with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to analyse the budget to check on the amounts that were allocated to the Ministry in terms of funding the education sector in this country. After a deep analysis of the figures, it is quite clear that we can start the implementation of the programme. However, it should be implemented in a staggered manner because we do not have enough resources to immediately implement that policy.

So this is the process that we are going through. We have the figures on the table and we are looking forward to you to approve a supplementary budget if it is possible for you Hon. Members to make sure that our children access free education. We worked together with the Deputy Minister of Finance before the end of the year. We have the figures and we have got USD6.3 million and that USD6.3 million is not enough. It is not enough but we have to start the implementation because the Constitution says so and the Education Act says so. So this is the answer ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister has thrown the ball back to us. During the budgetary debate, Vote by Vote, I think it is this House that should have queried whether the funds were enough to roll out but what you passed as a House was…

Hon. Zwizwai having stood up interrupting the Speaker

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Zwizwai, can you apologise for interrupting my response?

HON. ZWIZWAI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I apologise – but I want to make a supplementary.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Wait for that supplementary. Thank you. My ruling is very clear. The Hon. Minister will come back to this House and ask for more funds, USD6.3 million, and this august House will be obligated to pass that supplementary budget. Thank you.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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