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Underfunding cripples Education ministry

Attempts to introduce monetary incentives for rural school teachers have hit a snag because the Education ministry has not received enough funds from Treasury, a Cabinet minister has said.

REPORT BY SOFIA MAPURANGA
David Coltart , the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture said he had only received 6% of the US$5 million that his ministry was allocated by Treasury.

 
He said lack of funding had crippled implementation of most projects his ministry had planned.

 
“We are financially crippled and cannot implement any projects because of failure by Treasury to disburse funds,” said Coltart. “Rural schools are mostly affected because most of our projects were supposed to be implemented there.”

 
He said the ministry was committed to reducing the existing gaps between rural and urban schools but such efforts were being hampered by lack of financial resources and failure by Treasury to release funds on time.

 
Coltart said most rural schools lagged behind in terms of technological advancement and had no adequate learning material as well as furniture.

 
“The pass rate in the rural schools is low because of poor infrastructure, poor human resources and the only way to address this is if the ministry of finance avails funds,” he said.

 
Zimbabwe’s Education minister has decried government’s decision to spend more of the national budget on defence than education, saying the country’s leaders needed to change their priorities.

 
In the current budget, the Ministry of Defence got a whopping US$35 million, seven times higher than what the Ministry of Education received.

 
Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge has also raised concern that only a small percentage of the money budgeted for his sector had been released so far this year.

 

 

Efforts to get a comment from the Finance minister, Tendai Biti were futile last week.

 
Government missed the projected revenue target by US$244 million by the end of June 2012, forcing the Finance ministry to review the budget downwards. Biti had previously attributed failure to realise projected revenue inflows mainly to the shortfall on revenue inflows from diamond dividends.

 
The minister of Finance in June reviewed the budget downwards to US$3,6 billion from the initial US$4 billion.

 
He also reviewed this year’s Gross Domestic Product growth projection from 9,4% to 5,6%.

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