Politics & General News

Govt backtracking on free education promises

OVERNMENT has started to sing a different tune on earlier promises to provide free basic education beginning next year, with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube saying the programme would need more time to implement.In 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed into law the Education Amendment Act which compels the State to provide free basic education in line with provisions of section 27 of the Constitution.Section 27 reads: “The State must take all practical measures to promote (a) free compulsory basic education for children…”In Parliament on Thursday, Ncube said free education would take time to implement, pointing out that government was not in a position to implement the programme in January.“To fully transition to total free education, we have to undertake a thorough evaluation of requirements, identifying gaps to debate and implementation of activities that broaden coverage for education to every child. So, this is a process, we will get there because we have started but we are already doing a lot in terms of education access,” Ncube said.“I have said earlier that provision of free education is a process, hence the budget increased allocation to the sector by 2,1% from the previous years.”In his vote for the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, Ncube allocated $631,3 billion (US$976 million) towards providing quality infant, junior and secondary education.The bulk of the allocation will, however, go towards teachers’ salaries and other learning costs.

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