The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Fri­day, Novem­ber 22, 1991 — There was an out­cry in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day against the re-in­tro­duc­tion of school fees, with some peo­ple say­ing the new fees struc­ture placed most of the bur­den on the shoul­ders of low-den­sity sub­urbs.

The Con­sumer Coun­cil Of Zim­babwe’s act­ing regional of­fi­cer for Mata­bele­land, Cde Medellin Toni, called the Gov­ern­ment to un­der­take a thor­ough sur­vey to de­ter­mine who should pay and how much they should pay.

“They should re­ally go back and es­tab­lish which child should pay and which should not be­cause there are some peo­ple who live in the high den­sity sub­urbs who earn more than those who live in the low den­sity sub­urbs”, she said.

Cde Toni said that fam­i­lies would be split up as some par­ents who can­not af­ford ur­ban fees may send their chil­dren to the ru­ral ar­eas. While it is as­sumed that peo­ple in the ur­ban ar­eas could af­ford the fees, the Gov­ern­ment over­looked the fact that some par­ents in the ru­ral ar­eas were bet­ter paid than those in ur­ban ar­eas, she said.

Cde Toni cited the ex­am­ple of busi­ness­men, civil ser­vants, doc­tors and other pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in the ru­ral ar­eas as some of the peo­ple that would ben­e­fit from the new fees struc­ture.

She ex­pressed con­cern at the pos­si­bil­ity that cash­strapped par­ents might re­vert to the prac­tice of send­ing only boys to school, a prac­tice the Gov­ern­ment had dis­cour­aged through its ed­u­ca­tion for all pol­icy. A Bu­l­awayo head­mas­ter echoed Cde Toni’s sen­ti­ments. He said that with the high rate of preg­nan­cies re­ported at schools, par­ents were likely to pre­fer send­ing only boys to school.

The head­mas­ter how­ever said the re-in­tro­duc­tion of school fees might en­cour­age par­ents to take a greater in­ter­est in their chil­dren’s school work.

“Gen­er­ally when you get some­thing for free, you are not as com­mit­ted to its wel­fare as you would be if you were charged for it. Par­ents might now be­come in­ter­ested in their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion”, he said. “The re-in­tro­duc­tion of school fees would im­prove the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion, be­cause classes would be smaller,” he said.

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