Non payment of fees – school heads facing disciplinary action Minister Edgar Moyo

Bongani Ndlovu, Online Reporter

Some school heads who were turning children away for non-payment of school fees are up for disciplinary action as they contravened Government policy.

This was said by the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Edgar Moyo during the Oral Answer to Questions Without Notice session in the Senate on Thursday.

Deputy Minister Moyo was answering Senator Khaliphani Phungeni for Bulawayo (MDC-Alliance) who had queried Government policy on children whose parents cannot afford fees and being turned away.

My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Moyo.  Hon. Minister, what is Government policy on children who cannot afford to pay school fees?  I know that children cannot be denied their Right to Education because their parents cannot afford to pay school fees.  Does your policy remove children from school on the basis of parents failing to pay school fees or the children stay in school and you find other means of recovering the money from the parents?  Thank you,” said Senator Phungeni.

Deputy Minister Moyo said from the second term several school heads are facing disciplinary action for turning away pupils who had not paid school fees.

“I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House that with effect from this term, several heads had charges preferred against them for contravening that particular policy.  They are currently going through disciplinary processes as per relevant statutes.  I thank you,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

He said this year the Basic Education Module (BEAM) is catering for about 1.8 million pupils across the country.

Every child in Zimbabwe has a right to education whether they have the fees or not.  Those whose parents are able to pay fees do pay.  Those whose circumstances are such that they are unable to pay fees are then covered under certain programmes that Government has put in place, chief amongst them is the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme which is going to be covering 1.8 million children this year,” he said.

Deputy Minister Moyo urged that school authorities who turn away pupils must be reported so Government takes corrective measures.

We also have partners that have partnered with education in this country and through several organisations they pay fees for students.  However, in the event that a child finds themselves in a kind of island where no programme covers them and their parents are struggling to pay fees, schools have no right to send those children out of school or to remove them,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

“They have to allow students to proceed with their education without interaction but then engage parents and come up with payment plans to pay those fees.  Those schools – I will repeat it today and I have said it before, who send students home are committing a crime against the rights of those children to education.  They must be reported to authorities and corrective measures should be taken.”

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