Home » Education » Hands Off BEAM, MPs Councillors Told

Members of Parliament, councillors and traditional leaders should not take part in the selection of beneficiaries of the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) because they might influence the process, legislators heard yesterday.

Acting Principal Director in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Mr Sydney Mhishi, said political structures were there to receive complaints about the selection process.

He said this while giving oral evidence before a parliamentary portfolio committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development on what the ministry was doing to mainstream gender.

Harare Metropolitan Member of Parliament Ms Evelyn Masaiti (MDC-T), had raised concern on the selection criteria for beam candidates and wanted to know if there were specific guidelines.

She said some councillors were influencing the selection process, a situation she said would result in deserving pupils being excluded.

Mr Mhishi said the selection committee should come from members of the community and that at least 50 percent should be women.

“No one with a political office is allowed to be a member of the selection committee,” he said. “No Member of Parliament, councillor, chief or headman can be a member of the selection committee. That is the policy.

“These political structures should form what we call an Appeals Committee. If a member of the public has any reason to think that the selection has not been done well he can appeal to these political structures. That is what these political structures are there for, not to select.”

Mr Mhishi said US$176 million was needed to cover eligible pupils under beam, but they were only getting US$30 million.

This, he said, left out a lot of eligible pupils, a situation that could create animosity in the selection process.

Speaking before the same committee, the ministry’s legal aiser, Ms Precious Sibiya said they were in the process of amending the labour law to align it with the Constitution.

Under the proposed amendments, women would be allowed to go on maternity leave as many times as they have to.

She said a provision that gave a timeframe within which a woman could take maternity leave would be removed.

“The current Act gives qualifying periods of three intervals under one employer. We are amending it to remove the qualifying periods,” she said.

The hearing was also attended by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services Mr Ngoni Masoka and other senior officials.

Source : The Herald

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