TREASURY has set aside $123 million for the provision of psycho-social support for pupils who fall pregnant, in a move that reaffirms Government’s position on the observance of their non-exclusion from school.
This was after it was noted that the previous provision that allowed school authorities to expel pregnant pupils was discriminatory to the girl child. Presenting the National Budget last Thursday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the allocation was to ensure the implementation of the new provision.
“Government allows non-exclusion of pregnant girls in schools and to ensure observance of this provision, psycho–social support will be enhanced at schools and an allocation of ZWL$123 million has been set aside,” said the Minister.
Prior to the amendments of the Education Act, school authorities could expel a girl for falling pregnant but spare the boy responsible for the pregnancy, which was seen as discriminatory against the girl child. The budget allocation follows the approval in August by President Mnangagwa of the amendment of the Education Act.
Under the amendments, “No pupil shall be excluded from school for non-payment of school fees or on the basis of pregnancy.”
The Act also outlaws corporal punishment and school authorities are now required to draw up a disciplinary policy in accordance with standards set out in regulations prescribed by the minister. In terms of the Act, the regulations and any disciplinary policy shall not permit any treatment which does not respect the human dignity of a pupil.
Prof Ncube also said that the Government would up efforts of monitoring schools so as to continuously improve the quality of education provision. He said vehicles would be issued to schools’ inspectors to help ease their duties.
“Monitoring and evaluation of schools will be strengthened to ensure quality education outcomes in all institutions and this will be complemented by the provision of supervision vehicles at a total allocation of $220 million. Government will also prioritise the teacher on the job re-training in order to meet the requirements of the new competence-based curriculum and introduction of teaching and learning of all 16 languages at schools,” said the Finance Minister.
In total the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was allocated $55,2 billion. Meanwhile, Prof Ncube revealed that the education sector has this year received US$8,9 million from various development partners with projected disbursements for next year pegged at US$27,7 million.
“The disbursed resources include US$3.9 million from the United Kingdom through the Zimbabwe Girls Secondary Education Project, which provides support for marginalised girls and boys in the country’s selected districts. The sector is also benefitting from a grant amounting to US$7 million issued by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to address the impact of Covid-19 on education, out of which US$1 million was disbursed during the period under review,” said the Minister.