There was chaos at Waterfalls Primary School in Harare last week when over 40 pupils were turned away after it emerged that their names were not on the school register after having been smuggled into class by a teacher allegedly working in cahoots with a driver.
BY EVANS MATHANDA
This was discovered by the new deputy head after some teachers complained that they had about 60 pupils in one class.
An investigation by the school later revealed that a number of pupils were not registered with the school, but had been attending classes since last year.
According to an official at the school who requested anonymity, a normal class at the school ranges from 40 to 45 students depending on the size of the classroom.
Parents who spoke to NewsDay alleged that a teacher, Samuel Chitambara (27) and Fanuel Mutopo (driver), as facilitators between parents and administration, collected money ranging between US$50 and US$100 as enrolment fees, but they converted the money to their own use.
“We paid money in United States dollars and were given school bank details to pay fees. We bought uniforms and paid fees at the bank and our children went to school just for a week before they were turned away. This has been happening for the past few years, but the new staff in the admin exposed everything, we were duped,” one of the parents said.
Contacted for comment, an official at the Primary and Secondary Education ministry’s Highfield and Glen Norah district offices admitted on condition of anonymity that there were over 40 unregistered children coming in complete school uniform at the school since the opening of schools after the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It is true that parents were deceived by Chitamba and Mutopo and were duped to pay money ranging between US$50 and US$100 per child, but we have advised all parents who are victims to report the issue to the nearest police station so that we can work together to investigate this issue,” the official said.
“The school is not in a position to refund money which was handed direct to the duo in US dollars, but those who had deposited fees in our bank accounts will be refunded.
“Some of the duped parents are police officers.”
The source added that the district set up a taskforce that was still investigating the matter and was given up to April 15 to give feedback to the Education ministry.
“A few parents are willing to co-operate, others are using emotions. I was even booed by the parents when I arrived at the school last week, which becomes difficult to investigate since parents are bitter as they demand a guarantee that their children be enrolled at the same school despite that the school has no capacity to recruit more students beyond what is required by the ministry,” one of the investigators said.
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