Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s regime has reportedly requested for funds from Britain to educate at least one million disadvantaged children – around a third of the country’s pupils.
According to The Telegraph, the request was made to the Department for International Development (DIFID) by the Zimbabwean government soon after schools opened for the year.
The report said Britain was considering the request despite Mugabe's anti-British rhetoric and insistence that Zimbabwe was better without the interference of its former colonial master.
This follows recent reports in the local media that government had failed to raise funds to pay school fees for at least one million children who depended on state assistance for their education.
Under the country’s Basic Education Assistance Model (Beam), the government needed $73m to pay school fees for children, but according to the public service ministry, only $15m was budgeted for the programme this fiscal year.
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has led to job losses, making it impossible for growing numbers of parents to pay tuition fees. Unemployment now stands at 80%, and is rising as businesses continue to fold.