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Finance and Economic Development Minister, Profesor Mthuli Ncube, has said free education would take time to implement apparently hinting that the government would not implement the programme in January 2023 as was expected.
He made the remarks in Parliament on Thursday. NewsDay quotes him as saying:
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.
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 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 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 with the bulk going towards teachers’ salaries and other learning costs.
During a Finance Bill budget debate, ZANU PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi said the budget was insufficient to facilitate free education.
Teachers’ unions also said the budget set aside for free education was too little.
For years, the government has been promising free basic education but has failed to implement the policy.