This budget has been hailed as developmental and growth-oriented. In presenting the budget, Biti noted that it would deal with the socio-economic challenges facing the nation through the vehicle of reconstruction with equitable growth and stability which will be a “pro-poor, broad based and an inclusive development framework” with a strong emphasis on the key issues of education, health and social services and the continuation of a strict and disciplined macro-economic stabilisation programme.”
The minister noted that the country had already started noting positive moves towards the resumption of normalcy in the education sector through the clearing of the 2008 examinations backlog and the timely marking of Grade Seven examinations without downplaying the massive challenges that still face the sector in endeavouring to improve service delivery to the levels prior to the economic challenges.
He noted that teaching and learning are taking place under the most difficult conditions on account of shortages of teaching and learning materials, including equipment.
The total allocation to education in the budget was US$107,8 million. Set against what the Education, Sport, Arts and Culture ministry requested for a complete overhaul of the education system. This is roughly 10% of the US$1 billion requested.
This might seem like a drop in the ocean but this budget is a departure from yesteryears where the education sector got the crumbs from what the Defence ministry would have gulped.
This time, the budget showed considerable bias towards service ministries and uplifting the lives of the generality of the people.
The huge chunk of the money allocated to Beam will go a long way towards assisting the vulnerable and disadvantaged students who in previous years lacked a cushion against the economic hardships.
The allocation going to the provision of hygiene and sanitation in schools and colleges is a positive move especially for the female students who lacked basic sanitary ware and toilets with necessary disposal equipment.
The 2010 budget has the capacity to set alight the torch that will light the path to recovery for the education sector.
Student Solidarity Trust,