BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
PARENTS and guardians whose children are learning at Chogugudza Primary School in Domboshava, Goromonzi district, are plotting to demonstrate today against a decision by school authorities to raise fees from $90 to $1 275.
The school is also asking parents to fork out an additional US$35 for the procurement of COVID-19 consumables to ensure safe learning.
The school authorities have already submitted the proposed new fee structure to the Mashonaland East provincial education office for approval.
The parents, who are engineering a demonstration through a WhatsApp group, want the fees to be between US$3 and US$10 without having to pay US$35 for COVID-19 prevention materials.
“It seems these people (school authorities) are not willing to have a meeting anytime soon. If we don’t demonstrate, we won’t succeed. We are tired of co-operating with them with no positive outcomes. Let’s come in our numbers on Monday before 7am for the demonstration,” said a parent identified as Gamue.
“Government said that it would provide schools with PPEs and other essentials. It didn’t say that it should come from parents. US$50 will be daylight robbery. Imagine, I have three children at the school. In total I will need US$150. That’s too much for me,” said South Africa-based parent Priscilla
“If I were there, I was going to the demo too.”
Another parent, Faresi Murerwe said it was necessary to call for another meeting since most parents’ concerns were not considered.
“We said we will look for buckets and masks on our own, but that was dismissed immediately. The head said the school wanted to buy a chair and desk for every pupil and we said we would look for carpenters, but this was also turned down. The paper with COVID-19 materials amounting to US$35 is said to have come from a company called Apple Sun. The initial fee proposal was US$20 and parents eventually agreed on US$15,” she said
“Surely, we need another meeting that will allow many voices to be head. Parents left the venue unhappy.”
The US$15 was proposed during a meeting held on September 18 with parents who have children in Grades 5, 6 and 7.
“The meeting will not last long since it is about school reopening strategies awareness, hence, all parents are advised to be punctual,” wrote the school development committee prior to the meeting.
The parents made an effort to seek audience with Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema who referred them to the Mashonaland East provincial education director.
At one point during the time the country was using United States dollars, the fees were US$20.
Most parents in Domboshava earn a living from selling tomatoes and vegetables.