BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
SCHOOLS are defying a government directive that they should not turn away pupils who have not paid school fees.
When schools opened for the second term on May 4, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry (MoPSE) directed school authorities to stop the practice saying the fees contract was between the schools and parents.
A survey by NewsDay yesterday revealed that several schools countrywide, including in rural areas were defying the government directive.
A Grade 4 pupil from Fungisai Primary School in Chitungwiza told NewsDay that she was denied entry to school premises after failing to produce a confirmation slip for payment of fees.
“I was turned away because I did not produce a gate pass given to those who would have paid school fees,” the pupil revealed.
Pupils from Apex Primary School, Retreat Farm in Waterfalls said they were sent away for owing fees.
A teacher from Jinga Primary School in Hurungwe, who declined to be named said children who have not paid fees are being sent away because there is no other method that schools can use to force parents to pay fees.
Children at Jinga Primary School were sent away because they failed to provide sand used for construction purposes at the school.
A parent, Tazvitya Mataurika said: “While fees must be paid, sending away learners will surely disadvantage the parents who are later asked to pay the fees in full despite the fact that their children would have missed lessons.”
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said government would not budge on its position that school authorities should not hold learners to ransom.
“Let us repeat this and put it on record that no schools are supposed to chase away learners for school fees arrears, particularly those in day schools. They should come up with a payment plan which we expect parents to also abide by,” Ndoro said.
He said government would take strong remedial action on schools that defied its directives.
“Parents must also honour their obligation to pay fees for their children,” Ndoro said.
Last week, the Zimbabwe National Students Union attempted to force the government to reduce fees through a #Feesmustfall stay-away which was unsuccessful after police maintained a heavy presence at the country’s institutions of higher learning.
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