PUBLIC Service minister Paul Mavima has admitted that the government does not have a budget for free primary school education yet, but was hopeful that funds will be made available next year.
Speaking at the World Autism Day event last week in Harare, Mavima said: “I want to thank the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) that, even though we have legislated for State-funded basic education, we have not been able to implement that provision within our Act because of inadequate resources that were allocated to education.
“I am glad to announce that the President is committed and starting in 2023 there is going to be free primary education. So those attending public schools will not be required to pay basic tuition fees while the State continues to support vulnerable children with uniforms, examination fees, and stationery. So we are happy about that development.”
Government has not only reneged on its promise for free primary education, but has also failed to honour its pledge to pay tuition fees for children of teachers and is owing huge amounts of money for students under the Basic Education Assistance Module.
Mavima decried what he called a lack of co-ordination between the Public Service ministry and the Education ministry in expediting the free education programme.
“It is a matter that should be expedited by the head of the Primary and Secondary Education ministry. The permanent secretaries should take it upon themselves and speedily implement that provision. So there is no discussion whatsoever on that issue,” Mavima said.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said government was failing to offer free education due to corruption which has made education inaccessible to over 7,9 million children who are being forced to drop out of school.
“The government has enough resources to deliver on the mandate of free education. One easy source of revenue is our mineral wealth which has the capacity to fund all social services in Zimbabwe if managed well. There are multiple potential revenue streams for funding free education,” Masaraure said.