THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has urged President Robert Mugabe to direct schools in the countryside to stop chasing away pupils over failure to pay tuition fees.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
This follows the release of statistics by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) 2017 Rural Livelihoods Assessment, showing that 63% of pupils in the rural areas were being turned away due to lack of fees.
ARTUZ president, Obert Masaraure urged Mugabe to show the same zeal he exhibited last week in Chinhoyi when he called for the re-engagement of 2 000 ghost workers and intervene with measures to assist the rural.
“ARTUZ urges Mugabe to make a statement on the issue of pupils that are being turned away just as he did demanding the reinstatement of those 2 000 retrenched youths of voting age,” he said.
“If the President is sincere about addressing issues of young people, the same privilege should be accorded to these poor pupils, who are being turned away because of poverty authored by the same government he heads.”
Mugabe told a Zanu PF youth interface rally held in Chinhoyi that he was against the dismissal of 2 000 youths from various ministries, and called for their reinstatement.
The government has, on several occasions, warned schools against chasing away pupils over non-payment of fees, but the warnings remain largely ignored.
Masaraure said the development was a recipe for disaster.
“The government, by not stamping its authority on the fate of pupils being turned away, is slowly, but surely authoring a Waterloo on rural development and the social fabric of the society,” he said.
“As a pro-poor and pro-rural development teachers’ union, ARTUZ urges the government and all the responsible officials to take action on the issue of pupils being turned away because of their inability to pay fees.”
“What is more worrisome is that the government, through the responsible ministry, has chosen to be embroiled in a blame game with schools, instead of harnessing the looming crisis of school dropouts caused by lack of fees.
“In fact, the deleterious consequences of this negation of responsibility to subsidise basic education will be felt in the few more years to come.”