Nothing for education: Gaidzanwa

The education sector will continue to experience operational challenges in 2012 because the proposed budget has allocated a paltry $6, 3 million towards programmes, constituting only 1% of the total Education budget, Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa has said.

There will be nothing left for female education.
There will be nothing left for female education.

Whilst the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture remains one of the government’s top priorities in the 2012 budget, experts have said the needs in this sector will remain largely unmet in 2012.

Speaking at a post budget gender analysis workshop hosted by the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network in Harare last week, Professor Gaidzanwa of the University of Zimbabwe said if the bulk (89%) of the $707 325000 allocated to the ministry went towards employment costs, there would be nothing left for education, let alone female education.

“A salary-focused budget is not sustainable and that means there is not money for real education in 2012”, said Gaidzanwa.

Professor Gaidzanwa also said 64 percent of the education budget will go towards current transfers, which means it is money already spent.

Meanwhile, the budget allocation for the Basic Education Assistance Module is pegged at $16million and targeted at 160 000 secondary school pupils. Pupils in primary education are not included in this allocation. Gaidzanwa said the government was rescinding on its responsibility to provide basic education.

“Reference to primary school pupils is made where the budget states that cooperating partners stand ready to match government’s efforts with focus on vulnerable primary schools and this does not clearly state what government is going to assist especially the girl child who is socially disadvantaged.”

The budget for BEAM is not gender responsive as it does not disaggregate beneficiaries by gender. The budget’s non committal stance towards primary education under BEAM is contradictory to the MTP objectives which include introducing free and compulsory primary education and promoting compulsory education for children, especially the girl-child up to secondary level.

Whilst the $30 000 allocation towards gender mainstreaming for tertiary education is a welcome development in the 2012 budget, the amount allocated is not commensurate with the extent of gender imbalances existing in tertiary education. Furthermore, no budget was provided for gender mainstreaming for education, sports and culture although the MTP provides for gender mainstreaming in all sectors of the economy.

$1 301 000 (0, 4 %) of the total education budget has been allocated to the Ministry of Higher Education and $25 million for the Students Grant and Loan Scheme. However, Gaidzanwa said the current budgetary allocation did not disaggregate the institutions and universities to reflect the gender distribution of enrolment. Meanwhile, universities in Zimbabwe generally enrol up to 30% female students whilst the rest are in teacher training colleges and polytechnic colleges. The budget therefore needs to increase funding to the colleges that have greater numbers of female students.

“Funding schemes should be structured with the purpose of strengthening female participation in technical and scientific sector higher education,” said Gaidzanwa.

Other participants at the ZWRCN budget analysis workshop raised concern over the disbursement challenges faced by various ministries in 2011. They said whilst the reintroduction of the loan scheme was noble, its implementation was key in order to avoid a repeat of the 2011 commitment which ended on paper. – You may send your feedback to [email protected]/ call +2634 700250

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