‘Govt hands tied on grocery demands’

THE government has said it can do little or nothing to stop schools from demanding groceries as part of tuition fees, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has said.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

A number of schools around the country are now demanding some groceries as part of tuition fees to beat inflation.

This is at a time when the majority of schools have increased their tuition fees several fold citing the hyper-inflationary environment.

Ziyambi told Senate recently that the Education ministry was aware that schools were also demanding groceries, but said it was the duty of parents and guardians to resist such during school development committee (SDC) meetings.

“The question that he has raised can only be addressed at the SDC meetings because that is where the school and parents agree as to how they will charge to ensure that their children can get adequate education. For me to give a substantive answer on issues that the parents have sat down and deliberated on how to ensure that the school provides a service, I would be lying,” Ziyambi said in response to a question by Senator Chief Clemence Nyabvudzi Nembire on what measures government was taking to stop schools from demanding groceries.

Ziyambi added that the Education Act was clear that the Education ministry’s hands were tied on the issue.

“It (Act) says that schools are supposed to sit with parents and agree on the pegging of fees. Those who sit in the meeting are the school and parents and they are the school development association. The consensus and recommendations is what is taken to the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“The response that I gave does not even require the Minister of Education to come and explain to say that at the school called Chipaga, the parents sat down and agreed that they are going to bring cooking oil for their children to get proper food such as chips, but the Minister cannot come in and say no, that is not right. Children cannot bring cooking oil for the children to get chips, but if he was saying that there is a school that has raised fees without the consent of parents, that is a different issue; we can agree.”

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