• Government at Constituency level has been issuing scholarship support letters to take to schools.
• CDF will later be sent to the school depending on how many children have been supported.
• It is very cumbersome for constituencies to be giving individual pupils money to take to those schools.
Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) has commended Ministry of Education for issuing scholarship support letters to pupils that are eligible to access bursaries at Constituency level.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Organization Executive Director George Hamusunga said according to information officially obtained from the Ministry, the process of supporting vulnerable children that are eligible to access the bursaries at Constituency level has already started.
Mr. Hamusunga stated that eligible learners will have to take scholarship support letters to their respective so that they are not delayed, because it is very cumbersome for constituencies to be giving individual pupils money to take to schools as this may compromise accountability.
“We have taken interest as ZANEC to engage Ministry of Education at every level to understand how they are going about the implementation of free education. So what we have been told is that the government at Constituency level has been issuing scholarship support letters to take to schools so that they are not delayed and then the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) will later be sent to the school depending on how many children have been supported at that school and that is very important for us.”
“It is important that the release of funds especially this time around we have a new government they have a few days of implementing their own budget and they are putting things in place, so we thought that was a good initiative to allow children not to be delayed,” Mr. Hamusunga said.
He added that this will also enable stakeholders in the education sector to track the funding in the schools because auditing the CDF at every level is going to be easier as learning institutions will only be making one transfer to each school where the pupils are going.
Mr. Hamusunga however said it is not enough for government to release money for Secondary Boarding School Bursary Scheme only because there are a number of other barriers that have been hindering vulnerable children from accessing education, apart from user fees.
“But we have a concern, and the concern is that this money is only being used on boarding fees which is not adequate as you know there are other barriers that have been stopping our vulnerable children from accessing schools and these include procurement of uniforms, that have become very expensive as well, procurement of groceries which they sue to sustain them over the term, transport money which they use for to and from school.”
“Of course we have some money in the budget about K30 million that will go towards sanitary towels for our girls so we hope that will be catered for,” he said.
He added that it is the organization’s hope that the Constituencies will organize themselves quickly enough so as to effectively administer the resources that have been made available.
On Tuesday last week, Ministry of Finance and National Planning released K198 million towards the First term Secondary Boarding Schools and Skills Development Bursary Scheme. The resources are part of the 20% allocated towards the Secondary Boarding Schools and Skills Development Bursary Scheme from the 2022 Constituency Development Fund.