PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema has threatened to deregister private schools demanding “extortionist” fees for e-learning programmes, taking advantage of the current lockdown.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Schools were supposed to open last week for the second term, but remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak which has kept millions of learners globally out of the classroom.
A number of private schools have commenced e-learning, but there are complaints from parents and guardians that
the fees demanded, even in foreign currency, were exorbitant.
The schools say they need the funds to cover fixed costs.
Mathema said some of the fees and levies being charged by some schools border on criminal activity.
“Some very high fees and levies that have been brought to my attention, including in foreign currency, appear extortionist and we should not have this in education. Section 17 of the Education Act provides for the cancellation of registration by the secretary,” Mathema told journalists on Saturday.
“Section 21 of the Education Act provides that no responsible authority shall charge any fee or levy or increase any fee or levy without the approval of the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. This is not an issue that was ever considered necessary given the co-operation that existed in the education sector. However, the spirit of some of the non-State players in the sector is no longer clear.”
“What the nation has experienced recently, where such school initiatives appear to be construed as part of the second
school term, with schools giving deadlines to parents and guardians for the payment of unapproved fees or levies, is not acceptable. I would want all of us to work as a team for the good of our children,” he said.
“I cannot emphasise enough the need for all schools to abide by the law and culture of consultation. We have a responsibility to be fair to our learners, parents and guardians. No school should attract our attention by doing wrong things.”