Parents resist govt seizure of schools' levies

HARARE - Epworth and Mabvuku-Tafara parents have petitioned Primary and Secondary Education minister, Lazarus Dokora, over the directive to have levies administered by government and not by School Development Committees (SDCs).

The parents argue the move is unconstitutional and tantamount to “stealing” from them.

Traditionally, levies have been managed by SDCs, channelling them towards  development of the learning institutions, while government has been collecting the school fees.

However, Dokora directed all schools countrywide to start depositing the money collected in levies and other charges into a School Services Account administered by government and cease sending it to SDCs’ accounts.

Through their attorney, Tonderai Bhatasara, the parents, in a January 30, 2017 letter, have threatened to take legal action against Dokora, if he does not rescind the directive.

“Section 75 of the Constitution provides for basic State-funded education. This is not being implemented as parents are being asked to pay for the education. For this reason, the Education Act needs to be aligned to the Constitution,” they said.

“…the directive to SDCs to transfer monies belonging to parents is being made in contravention of Section 68 of the Constitution which provides for right to administrative justice. Our clients who are key stakeholders in the education system were never consulted regarding this important change,” Bhatasara said.

Speaking about the School Services Fund (SSF) last year, Dokora said: “This is a fund provided for in the Education Amendment Act (2006) and should be established at all registered schools where all money paid as fees and levies shall be deposited. This follows that every school should have its own SSF account opened in its name.”

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