Deal with blackmailing school heads

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In our issue last Saturday, we had a report with the headline “Headmaster beats up students over fees”.

NewsDay Editorial

The alleged incident happened at Glen View 1 High School in Harare on January 30 this year. The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has instituted investigations.

No stone should be left unturned to get to the bottom of this, which – if proved to be so – should earn the headmaster the severest possible penalty.

To show the unreasonableness and unfairness of it all, one parent whose daughter was one of the alleged victims of the headmaster, fumed: “Is it my daughter’s fault that I have not paid the fees?”

Nowhere in the regulations and rules governing schools does it say failure to pay fees on the part of the parent or guardian constitutes a disciplinary offence against the pupil or student. This is not and cannot be a disciplinary matter.

When children go to school, they look up to the headmaster to give them physical, psychological and emotional support and protection. A headmaster must not behave like a schoolyard bully. In fact, such conduct on their part encourages bullies.

Schools are where children get the ethical and moral foundation to become good and contributing citizens of Zimbabwe and beyond in this globalised world.

That is where they get the grounding for life in order to mature into well-adjusted adults. The headmaster and his staff are entrusted to ensure this, but if they do the opposite, they must be promptly removed – they don’t belong there!

Another parent, who found his child in tears when he went to the school, said: “My daughter was clapped by the headmaster because I had not paid the school levy. I approached the school with $70, but they refused to take it, saying they needed the whole amount of $140, so I ended up not paying the levy.”

This could have prompted the headmaster to take such drastic, illegal measures because most of the levy goes straight into the pockets of teachers, so failure by parents to remit the whole sum deprives the headmaster and his staff. Because of this, headmasters can afford to have the luxury of refusing partial payment of fees depriving schools of money for other essential needs and provisions until the levy is paid.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling daily to merely exist, not that they are so irresponsible as to wilfully default on their obligations.

There is need to take a relook at this at national level because what allegedly happened at Glen View High 1 is most likely not an isolated incident.

The government must revise teachers’ salaries upwards and those of the parents too. The money is there if the government exercises political will to come down hard on shocking tax evasion and corruption among its ranks, which has impoverished the ordinary Zimbabwean, leaving schools, hospitals — in fact, almost everything — in a decaying and collapsed state.

That said, any headmaster who oversteps in the manner alleged at Glen View High 1 must face the music. Granted that teachers are lowly paid, headmasters cannot take it out on innocent children. They are not pawns on a chessboard.

It is unacceptable to resort to physical and emotional abuse of children put under your charge. This is tantamount to blackmailing the softest and easiest targets in society.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Being a former school head, I totally abhor the press’s lack of integrity here. This is a very unusual case and the press should not be reporting and commenting on ‘hear – say.’ It is very clear that school heads are not responsible for collecting fees/levies, but the SDC/SDA. I think someone is really trying to blackmail the school head, here.

  2. The buck stops at the Minister’s desk. Why is he allowing these mad levies to derail his education programme. These are government schools..set a ceiling that must be paid and all this nonsense will fall by the way side..What are you waiting for good sir?

  3. Pliz can u also check on College principals and that of Mtare Poly to be specific. Its so painful to the parents to see children coming back home vachiti tadzingwa nekuti hatina Maths pa ‘O’ Level. After all why did they enroll them if Maths was a requirement. You can imagine after a year of study mwana atova neNC omudzinga. My heart bleeds. Zvagosiyanei nevanorovera vana fees. Cry my beloved country nxaa.

  4. Ko mari yakadyiwa na Kanengoni ye bhazi pa Warren Park One primary yakapera sei? Takairepoter two years ago ko ministry asi hapana chakaitwa. Does the ministry of education exist?

  5. Kanengoni!!! Kanengoni!!!!! Dzora mari iyo. Hauna kuuya ne ma receipts ebhazi. Kanengoni!!!! Tirikuchema newe isu vabereki. Imboita inguva yako. Asi one day…………………whatch this space

  6. Imi leave poor teachers alone. Focus on the real issiues affecting our Zim. This Head is frustred and in his frustration is trying to turn the wheels of education that the current regime has punctured. BEAM is no longer there so how do u want schools to run? Iro ZiDokora rakango rara.

  7. haaaa nxaaa 2cents dzana headmaster ndo dzamunga gwavairire muchisiya mari svinu kunana zanu ukoo masimirebwa,dube,mahachi mpofu and frnz…nxaaaaa rova vanhu headmaster frastrtn z evry wher…especialy after reading psmas boss’ salary 230 000 …

  8. most Zimbabweans are poorly paid and teachers must not abuse children. At a boarding school where my child is a student, sda applied for a upward review of the levy and this was not approved. It then came out a teacher incetive donation proposal and it is claimed that parents present agreed and my understanding of a donation is that it is voluntary but to my surprise the school is now demanding the donation

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