Mixed feelings over fees hike

BULAWAYO - Parents have expressed mixed views to a decision by the ministry of Education to turn down applications by schools for a fee hike this year.

Most schools around the country had planned to raise fees despite the volatile economic situation prevailing where civil servants are battling to get a salary increment.

The Zanu PF-dominated government has yet to announce salary increment for civil servants despite pledges to do so during its election campaign.

The Daily News took to the streets of Bulawayo yesterday to interview parents and guardians on how they feel about the issue.

Pinky Ncube, 30, a saleslady at a furniture shop in the city told the Daily News that she welcomed the ministry’s decision to turn down applications for school fees hike.

“Most parents are struggling to get money for school fees at last year’s rates. School heads should be considerate and understand that the future of our children is in their hands.

“I have a nine-year-old son at Inzwananze primary school in Gwabalanda and I would hate to see him not going to school. The fee increment issue ought not to be done every year. It is becoming a bad habit,” Ncube said.

She said parents should at the same time try to get answers behind the increment because it may be for the good of the children.

“I believe an increase in school fees is the worst thing any parent would want to hear, especially in January. But as guardians or parents, we should first get reasons why they want to do so.

“We may discover that they want to enhance security at the school campus by hiring guards which benefits our children.

“Some parents have girls and they would not want to hear of rape cases or theft because of lack of security. So at some point we should hear their side of the story,” she said.

Lizwe Dube, 43, a taxi driver and a father of two said teachers have a habit of defrauding parents hiding behind the school fees increment issue, therefore the ministry did well by turning down ‘these crazy applications.”

“How many times do schools have to raise fees? That is madness and the ministry of education did well to rebuff their crazy applications,” Dube said.

“Where do they think we get the money from? We are struggling to buy school uniforms and all the material needed.

“Their actions are very funny because some of them are parents too and they know how difficult it is to get money.”

He railed against the schools for organising dubious fund-raising functions and making pupils pay civic day fees. “So where is all the money going?” Dube asked.

“I have a daughter at Eveline high school and she often asks for money needed at school for certain fund-raising functions that happen more than three times a term.

“That’s a lot of money we are giving the schools and they should use that cash and stop the levy increment madness. I am a taxi driver and there is not much profit in this business that I can afford an increase in fees.”

A 49-year-old nurse, Rumbidzai Moyo said parents and guardians should also consider that teachers are elders who have responsibilities too and their decisions should be respected.

“I do not blame school officials for intending to raise school fees. They need motivation as teachers. It undeniable that times are hard and there is no money."

“But for my child’s happiness and success I will do anything. What is money compared to the future of my own son? If there should be an increment so be it. I personally don’t mind,” Moyo said.

She said parents complain of school fees increases yet their children are sitting on broken chairs and in classes with no windows.

“We should consider the fees increases because it is our children who run short of textbooks in schools, and at the end of the day, they fail dismally.

“Let’s just work together as parents for a better future of our children,’ she said.

Comments (1)

As a nurse one hopes Rumbidzayi is not abusing medication meant for patients by consuming it herself. What other parents are saying is the inflation rate has been 5% for years now so what is the justification for increasing fees by 200%? In addition uniforms which are retailing for 150 dollars per set are being sold at schools for 300 dollars ...is there justification for this too? Like the Minister has said unfiforms bought at schools should be cheaper as they gain from economies of scale? Instead of just condembing this practice, the Minister should move with speed to prosecute these thieves who have gotten carried away with the nonsense they have been engaged in the past four years...If one were to apportion blame look no further than Coltart who gave excess responsibilities to these SDAs who believe they have been issued an open cheque to do as they please. It is sickening, to say the least!

gutter poet - 13 January 2014

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