BY VENERANDA LANGA
EDUCATION minister Paul Mavima has said parents are not obliged to buy school uniforms from specific suppliers to ensure there in no monopoly in pricing and selling of the products.
Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa had asked Mavima to explain to the National Assembly the government policy on the sale of school uniforms, given that many schools were overcharging them.
Kambuzuma MP, Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance), said schools had tripled the prices of uniforms, while others were selling them in United States dollar currency.
“Schools have moved away from their core business of teaching, and we used to buy uniforms at fair prices from uniform stores, but now the schools are overcharging on uniforms,” Mudarikwa said.
In response, Mavima said: “Parents should not be obligated to buy their uniforms from the schools or to buy from specific suppliers, because we do not want a situation where we would create monopolies and raising of the prices of uniforms.
“The position of the ministry is that parents should not be forced to buy uniforms from a single supplier because that increases the price of uniforms.”
Mavima said a circular was sent by the Primary and Secondary Education ministry ordering schools to ensure that they desist from the practice of selling school uniforms at exorbitant prices, or putting parents in a position where they ended up forced to get school uniforms from one supplier only.
Hurungwe East MP, Ngoni Masenda (Zanu PF), also asked the minister to explain if there was another policy in his ministry where students were required to buy hardcover exercise books, which are very expensive compared to softcover exercise books.
Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (Independent), also asked if the wearing of school uniforms was mandatory or constitutional.
But the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda quashed the questions saying they were not related to the matter under debate.