The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has suspended Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) assistance to special schools, a move that could affect education of children with disabilities.
Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ngoni Masoka recently wrote to all provincial education directors advising them of the new development.
“The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry kindly requests the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to convey the message to all special schools that Beam allocations to these schools have been postponed pending the outcome of your ministry’s discussion on challenges being experienced within special schools,” reads part of the letter.
“It is hoped that prior official communication will avoid inconvenience to special schools that will likely be expecting to receive their Beam allocations in 2014 as has been the norm.”
The suspension of Beam to special schools comes as Senators representing people living with disabilities last week introduced a motion urging the government to put in place a national special needs policy and training law to improve learning for children with special needs.
Masoka last month told Parliament that close to one million children were likely to be forced out of school due to the paltry allocation to the ministry in the 2014 national budget.
Nyamayabo Mashavakure, a senator representing people living with disabilities, said systems should be put in place to promote learning of children with disabilities.
Mashavakure said it was also disturbing that learners with visual impairments were discouraged or excluded from studying subjects like Mathematics or sciences.
“That has its problems later when they want to enrol at universities or other institutions where they want Maths at ‘O’ or ‘A’ levels,” he said.
“The visually impaired people end up being driven into the streets where they sing to make a living.”
Senator Annah Shiri who seconded the motion said disabled children should not be deprived of education and school heads that deny places to them should be charged.