Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
MASVINGO provincial education director Fadzai Jirivengwa has ordered school heads in the province to observe a High Court ruling barring the institutions from sending pupils away over school fees arrears as schools opened for the third term yesterday.She said those who sent pupils away would also be in breach of government policy.
Her tough stance seemed to have worked as no school in Masvingo urban chased pupils from class.
Pupils that are mostly affected are those under Basic Education Assistant Module (Beam) whose tuition is paid by the government.
Jirivengwa told Chronicle schools should not disadvantage pupils but should deal with parents who have the responsibility of paying fees.
“Schools should find means to recover their money from parents when they don’t pay the children’s fees instead of shifting the burden to the children who are dependants,” she said.
“We don’t expect school heads to send away children for not paying fees. This applies to both primary and secondary schools. Paying fees is a parent’s responsibility. However, we expect children who have not had their fees paid to remind parents to pay.”
The PED said she appreciates the hardships bedeviling many parents and urged those who find it hard to pay all fees to negotiate for a payment plan with school heads.
“We know things are tough, but parents should pay their children’s fees. If they don’t, schools will shut down as they depend on school fees for their operations. Parents should negotiate for a sustainable way of paying.
“They can pay in installments rather than not paying at all but this should be agreed with the school authority,” she said.
Justice Maphios Cheda in 2011 ruled that it was illegal for pupils to be sent away from school over fees.
The then Ministry of Education, Arts, Sport and Culture advised schools to sue parents who neglect to pay fees, instead of excluding children from lessons.