LOCAL non-governmental organisation, Tag A Life (Tali), has called on the government to reverse its recent decision to charge examination fees for Grade 7 pupils and hike Ordinary Level examination fees, saying the move would force several students to drop out of school due to lack money.
BY Staff Writer
In a statement, Tali executive director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said: “It is shocking that the government introduces these changes at a time where the rural folk and many low income-earning communities are struggling to make ends meet.
“The shrinking economy and rapidly closing industries have caused many parents/guardians to lose jobs, thereby leaving majority hard pressed to survive.”
Mashayamombe said her organisation was lobbying the government to shelve the proposals to ease pressure on the already burdened parents.
“This will not only ensure parents remain focused at doing the little they can under the hard economic conditions to keep their children in school, but it will also ensure that our children, especially the girls, the most affected by such changes, stay in school and are not vulnerable to violations such as marriages, thereby ensuring progress for the greater Zimbabwe,” she said.
She added that the introduction of examination fees at Grade 7 was a direct violation of the right to basic education as it is provided for in the Constitution.
“It is clear that it is either an oversight of reality on the part of the government that education has not been accessible to the marginalised and introducing this is widening the gap between the few elite and the majority of the struggling Zimbabweans,” she said.
“This is the time where the government of Zimbabwe should be assisting parents and guardians to encourage them to send their children to school, not destroying their hope and attempt for survival by over burdening them with these fees,” said Mashayamombe.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora recently announced plans to hike the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council “O” Level fees from $13 to $15 saying part of the money would be used to plug leakages of examination papers.
However, the move has been condemned by educationists who argued that the fee increase would reverse most of the educational gains the country has made since Independence.