Home » Literacy » 165 000 Children Fail to Access Beam

More than 165 000 orphans and vulnerable children are failing to access the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) owing to bureaucracy and inadequate resources, a report has revealed. According to a 2013 Education Management Information System (EMIS) report released recently by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the delay in the disbursement of funds has affected thousands of vulnerable children who wanted to write examinations or collect results.

“A total of 141 757 children consisting of 71 874 boys and 69 883 girls were secondary children on outstanding BEAM payments. More concerning is the high rate of claims unpaid, with Matabeleland North and Manicaland provinces having more than 70 percent of BEAM claims outstanding,” read part of the report.

“At primary level 23 865 children, consisting of 12 052 females and 11 813 male had debts yet to be settled by BEAM, presenting a challenge to the BEAM programme, with Manicaland having the highest number of 3 412 female and 3 007 male.”

BEAM is a collaborative cash transfer programme between the state and donors that seeks to keep children in school.

A 2014 audit report by the Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri showed that more than $2 million meant for beam was left unused under former Minister of Public Labour and Social Services led by Minister Paurina Mupariwa.

She noted that from 2009 to 2012 of the $45 million made available, $43 million was utilised leaving $2 million unused.

Donors were forced to retain this amount. The annual statistical report also indicated that the steady growth in school levies had overwhelmed the BEAM programme as more children became vulnerable.

At primary school level 714 947 orphaned and vulnerable children were enrolled consisting of 360 156 male and 354 791 females while at secondary level, 319 829 pupils were enrolled.

Among them were 163 706 females and 156 120 males.

According to the 2012 school census, there are more than 1 million children out of nearly 4 million countrywide classified as orphans and vulnerable children.

Critics have blamed bureaucracy, corruption and lack of transparency for the delays in the disbursement of the BEAM funds for needy children.

Source : The Herald