THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavima, has warned schools that are still withholding Grade Seven results over non-payment of fees that it is illegal to do so.
This comes amid concerns from parents that they were failing to look for Form One places for their children after they were denied results by schools over non-payment of fees.
Prof Mavima said school authorities that were withholding results were breaking the law. He said schools should deal with the parent or whoever was responsible for paying fees in a way that does not infringe on the child’s right to access education.
“Such an act is against the law. School authorities must be on agreement with parents on how they are going to sort out the outstanding fees. This should not affect the child’s education in any way,” he said.
In 2016, Prof Mavima said schools should work with parents to come up with payment plans instead of withholding results. He said schools were empowered to take parents to civil courts to enforce payment of fees.
Human rights lawyers say withholding results is in breach of children’s right to education.
In an interview with Bulawayo parents, they said school authorities were abusing their power and also breaking the law.
“They say they want fees to be paid in full for pupils to access results. Where do they expect us to get the money in such an economy? In as much as we want to pay fees, the situation is not permitting us.
“The Government said heads of schools should deal with us as parents and not to punish our children. How then do our children look for Form One places without results?” said Mr Sifiso Mabhena.
A parent with children learning at Emakhandeni Primary School complained that there was a directive to top up fees for building fund of $44 from an initial figure of $36, making it a total of $80.
“I do not understand why the school authorities want to abuse power. In 2015, we agreed on $36 for building fund meant to build a classroom block.
We paid the $36 and in November when we had a meeting they told us we had to pay an extra $44 to add up to $80. This is not fair at all; now I have to pay $44 each for my two sons which I, as a widow and a pensioner do not have,” said Mrs Sakhile Kashiri.
Parents said the school shut them out on proposals to either exempt Grade Sevens in the top up as they were close to finishing examinations last year or accept payment plans.
– Sunday News