Primary school education too expensive: Parents

BULAWAYO - The nine-year primary education model introduced by the government is expensive and unnecessary, parents have said.

Government recently introduced a new and compulsory education system for primary school pupils requiring them to go through nine years of primary school starting from the age of three or four years for model A and five years for model B.

MDC Bulawayo legislator, Tholakele Khumalo said the ministry asserts that a child who misses any grade, would have missed a level of education.

In the past, primary school education lasted a period of seven years and children could start at the age of six years.

In an interview, parents who spoke to the Daily News said that the education system endorses unnecessary costs.

“It is expensive since parents have to buy groceries for the kids and most parents cannot afford it. Grade zero school fees is not necessary,” Sizalobuhle Ncube a mother of four, said.

Joshua Ndlovu a father of two said the government should stop robbing parents of their hard-earned cash.

“Our children do not learn anything since there is absolutely nothing that one can teach a three-year old. Government should shed more light on the curriculum before they rob us, unless maybe they just want to create space in order to recruit more teachers,” he said.

Grace Tshuma said children should be offered free education if they are to start school at an early age.

“Government should just leave parents to send their children to pre-schools that we are used to because the model A and B education system is just a waste of time,” she said.

However Tshuma said the decision could be an advantage since children are growing fast nowadays.

Another parent, Matilda Tshuma said the education system was not appropriate since it was too expensive and most parents prefer to keep their children home at least up the age of six.

Beauty Mpofu, a supervisor at Praise Happy Times ECD Centre, said it was not ideal for a child as young as three years to enter school.

Children should go to pre-school first so that they get used to school environment, she said.

“Working parents would prefer taking their children to preschool because of their busy schedules. If pupils finish school at 12pm, while parents are still at work, where will they take them to? And besides there are no play areas at schools,” she said.

Speaking on the side-lines of a meeting in Khumalo, she said the introduction of model A and model B is both a disadvantage and an advantage.

“This is an advantage for many parents because it will cut down the pre-school bill costs but the big question is how will a four-year-old child walk to school if it is far away?” she asked.

Dan Moyo, Bulawayo provincial education officer, said the system was going to be challenging for some parents.

“As long as you are expecting people to buy school stuff and pay fees it is going to be difficult for parents,” he said.

“If the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) could extend their package to the model A and B so that we cover for the parents who cannot afford then it will be much easier,” he said.

Moyo said accommodating the two grades in primary schools is however still a challenge.

In 2013 there were 1310 model A and 5611 model B students in Bulawayo.

Comments (2)

The education system is alright as it ensures early development of the child in line with modern technology. However the costs associated with it are what makes it less attractive to the average parent's eye. I kindly request that the government implement the free education policy for children at this level and leave us to take care of the rest.

mukanya - 10 January 2014

i really agree with you mukanya...100%

Darvins Murefu - 11 January 2014

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