Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima has said the provision of free basic education will be done step by step with the government currently working on supporting 1.5 million learners through Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) in 2022.
In an interview with NewsDay last week, Mavima said BEAM has gone beyond merely paying school fees for disadvantaged learners but also providing them with learning materials. Mavima said:
Steps are already underway to provide free education and this will be done progressively.
Already we are looking forward to supporting 1.5 million learners through Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) this year.
As already indicated, BEAM has moved towards comprehensive coverage of the needs of learners beyond tuition fees.
This has been an important step towards the attainment of State-funded basic education.
The State has indicated that there will be more comprehensive coverage of this matter under the 2023 budget.
Critics have accused the government of making false promises on free education as these pledges are usually made ahead of elections while little is done to fulfil them.
Some schools are now demanding school fees exclusively in foreign currency, casting doubt on the government’s capacity to fulfil its free education pledge.