Govt wields cane on er­rant head­mas­ters

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Gov­ern­ment says it is go­ing to in­sti­tute dis­ci­plinary mea­sures on school heads sanc­tion­ing the ex­pul­sion of pupils for not pay­ing fees amid re­ports that a num­ber of schools have re­cently been de­fy­ing the Gov­ern­ment di­rec­tive with re­gards pay­ment of fees.

It emerged last week that while some schools were send­ing pupils home those that did not do so re­sorted to puni­tive mea­sures of sit­ting pupils who haven’t paid in a hall while oth­ers were in class.

In an in­ter­view with Sun­day News, the Min­is­ter of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­fes­sor Paul Mav­ima said Gov­ern­ment was go­ing to be heavy handed in deal­ing with school heads who were de­fy­ing the Gov­ern­ment di­rec­tive.

He said dis­ci­plinary ac­tion would be taken on schools that tram­ple on Gov­ern­ment pol­icy with reck­less aban­don adding that the era of empty threats was long gone.

“Dis­ci­plinary ac­tion will be taken out on schools found pay­ing no at­ten­tion to the Gov­ern­ment pol­icy on ex­clud­ing pupils from classes for school feels. As a min­istry we are very con­cerned about schools that dis­re­gard the Gov­ern­ment di­rec­tive in­struct­ing schools not to send away pupils for not pay­ing school fees.

“We have not yet re­ceived all the spe­cific names of schools that are do­ing so. We there­fore ap­peal to the pub­lic not to pro­tect such schools but they should come for­ward and re­port be­cause schools are aware of the Gov­ern­ment pol­icy. They are aware that noth­ing has changed be­cause we did not com­mu­ni­cate any changes. They are sim­ply test­ing our pa­tience,” he said.

In Bu­l­awayo pupils from a num­ber of schools were ei­ther sent home or out of class­rooms as pun­ish­ment for not pay­ing school fees .

How­ever, the pol­icy, the min­is­ter said, does not mean that par­ents should no longer pay fees. He said schools should en­gage par­ents and work on pay­ment plans to­wards their chil­dren’s school fees.

“Schools should en­gage par­ents and draw pay­ment plans for their chil­dren’s school fees. Par­ents should take re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and so if it means they should be taken to court for not pay­ing school fees so be it, in­stead of ex­cluded chil­dren from classes be­cause of their par­ents’ faults,” said Prof Mav­ima.

Min­is­ter Mav­ima said the cul­ture of de­fi­ance should stop, spell­ing out that the new Gov­ern­ment was se­ri­ous about en­sur­ing ad­her­ence to laid down poli­cies.

He said those that con­tinue to dare the Gov­ern­ment should be pre­pared to face the mu­sic and would have no one but them­selves to blame.

He re­it­er­ated that the con­tract of pay­ing fees was be­tween the par­ent or guardian and the school au­thor­i­ties and not the child, adding that ed­u­ca­tion was one of the rights that must be en­joyed by all Zim­bab­wean chil­dren re­gard­less of one’s so­cial sta­tus.

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