HARARE – Due to financial limitations, the government of Zimbabwe will roll out the provision of free basic education in phases, according to Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu.
Ndlovu revealed that in order to cover the expense of universal free education, the current budget of US$6,3 million allocated to the Zimbabwe education sector for 2023 was insufficient.
The remarks will further dent the image of the President Emmerson Mnangagwa led government which has been promising free education over the years towards elections to no avail.
“We agreed that we have to sit down with the Ministry of Finance to analyse and check on the amounts that were allocated to the Ministry of Education in terms of funding and after a big analysis it is quite clear that the funds are not enough,” the minister said.
The minister further stated that her ministry was estimating the required funding and would advocate for approval in an additional budget.
“It should be implemented in a staggered manner,” she added.
The impoverished rural schools in Zimbabwe were the primary targets of the zero-fee policy’s gradual adoption, but the previous BEAM facility already saw the government covering more than 2,2 million students’ tuition costs nationwide.
All the years parents have been struggling to raise school fees for their children due to the tough economic situation in Zimbabwe forcing the government to promise free education.
In 2022, Ndlovu controversially asked parents to report school authorities to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission if their children have been refused admission to a school because they failed to pay fees in foreign currency (USD).