Students under the Basic Education Assistant Module (BEAM) program are reportedly being turned away from schools due to late payment of school fees.

The Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare has attributed late payment of fees for about 1.8 million students who are currently enrolled on BEAM to untimely disbursements.

BEAM was introduced by the government in 2001 to assist orphans and vulnerable children in rural and urban areas with fee assistance.

Responding to queries raised by parliamentarians regarding the late disbursements of school fees for students under BEAM, the minister of Public Service and Social Welfare, Prof Paul Mavima, said his ministry was pushing for the timely payment of fees. Open Parly cites him as saying:

As usual, the beginning of the year processes that have to be done with our budget and releases of money do not come at the time as we want.

We are pushing for those releases to be done so that schools will not have problems with regard to whatever supplies they need for them to operate efficiently.

We are pushing for those funds to go to the schools and as soon as that money is made available, it will go to the schools.

I am happy that we managed to cover as much of the previous arrears as possible. It is only this term that we have to deal with.

We are pushing for that money to go to the schools.

Last November, parliamentarians raised concern over the continued turning away of students from school over nonpayment of fees.

Mutare Central lawmaker, Innocent Gonese, quizzed the minister on his knowledge about the perpetual problems associated with the delayed disbursements of BEAM funds throughout the year.

In response, the minister stated that the 2022 third-term arrears had been cleared and the ministry was working to guarantee that the funds are disbursed to the relevant institutions.