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Mnangagwa's govt makes U-turn on free education

by Staff reporter
09 Feb 2023 at 05:09hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has made a dramatic U-turn on its earlier pledge to provide free basic education beginning this term.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu admitted in Parliament yesterday that there was not enough money for the exercise.

Ndlovu made the revelation after she was cornered by legislators demanding answers on the free education pledge during a Parliament question-and-answer session.

"We wish to do that, to give  free education, but it is unfortunate we have US$6,3 million (for the exercise) and that is not enough," she said.

"We agreed that we have to sit down with the Ministry ofFinance to analyse and check on the amounts that were allocated to the Ministry of (Primary and Secondary) Education in terms of funding and after a bAig analysis, it is quite clear that the funds are not enough.

"At times I sit and wonder whether we can afford to pay fees. The truth of the matter is we want to pay fees for every child. We have a policy in this country, an Act of Parliament that demands that we pay fees and as a House of Assembly, we agreed to it."

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said: "The minister has thrown the ball back to us. It is this House that should have queried the minister during the budget. The Minister of Finance (Mthuli Ncube) will come to this House to ask for more funds in the supplementary budget."

In 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed into law the Education Amendment Act, which compels the State to provide free basic education in line with provisions of section 27 of the Constitution.

In his vote for the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, Ncube allocated $631,3 billion (US$976 million) towards providing quality infant, junior and secondary education. The bulk of the allocation will, however, go towards teachers' salaries and other learning costs.

For years, government has been promising free basic education, but has failed to honour the promise.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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