Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
AMHLOPHE High school in Pumula East suburb is allegedly withholding Ordinary Level results for some pupils over a $10 water levy that each of them was expected to pay. Parents whose children are yet to collect their results over the unpaid levy fear that their children may not be able to register for Lower Sixth classes that are set to start today.
When The Chronicle news crew visited the school on Friday, some parents were queuing to see the school’s headmaster over the issue. “My child owed a book to the school and I replaced it. Then he is told that he owes $10 for water. I don’t know anything about that, I don’t owe the school any fees. What’s that money for?” one parent asked.
“Does it mean that my child will not get his results because of that?” The school’s deputy head who was only identified as Mpofu allegedly told some parents that the money that was being demanded was for a water bill and should be paid before the public examination results could be released.
The deputy head declined to comment over the matter saying he was not cleared to talk to the media.
Amhlophe is among a number of schools in Bulawayo that have openly defied a government directive to stop withholding students’ results over outstanding fees. The government has said it is illegal to withhold children’s results over non-payment of fees but urged parents to come up with payment plans.
Mandwandwe, Mncumbatha, Nketa and Luveve high schools are among those that were accused of withholding results for pupils. Rights lawyer, David Hofisi, said both parents and schools risk litigation over the issue of fees.
“Schools that are in constant defiance of the law risk being sued, they’re open to litigation. But it’s also a two way street as parents can also be sued or have debt collectors harassing them,” said Hofisi. “The most respectable thing that both can do is engage each other and make payment plans to avoid litigation”.
Bulawayo Provincial Education Director, Dan Moyo, said he had not received any report on the withholding of results but reiterated the government position.
“The ministry was clear, no school must hold on to a child’s results. It’s a violation of a Constitutional right. They’re not allowed to do so,” said Moyo.
Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavhima told Parliament recently that parents should report the defiant schools to District Education Officers or PEDs.
Many pupils across the country had their results withheld by schools over outstanding fees prompting some parents to engage lawyers to force schools to release the results.