'Deal with schools chasing away pupils'

HARARE - About 250 Civic Society Organisations (CSO) advocating for access to education under the Every Child in School(ECIS) campaign have called upon government to take stringent measures on schools which are sending learners away due to non-payment of fees.

This comes after hundreds of  pupils from across the country were earlier this week turned away from school over non-payment of fees despite government’s directive not to send learners away.

Some learners were reportedly being chased away for arrears as little as $7.

Tag a Life International Trust (TaLI) director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, leading the consortium of CSOs said government should urgently release a circular directing school heads to accept every child into school.

“We encourage the government to strongly deal with schools that continue violating the policies such as the one that prevents schools from sending children home for failing to pay school fees, or those who continue to withhold results slips for non-payment of tuition and levies,” she said.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima discouraged schools from sending children away for non-payment of fees but some government schools have reportedly continued to disregard the directive.

Zimbabwe’s education sector has been deteriorating together with the economy, as many have been failing to access education.

Many pupils have either been dropping out of school or failing to enrol due to financial constraints.

As a result more than 30 percent of children are reported to be currently out of school.

Government last year resolved to start offering free basic education saying authorities will amend the Education Act when Parliament resumes sitting to align laws with section 27 of the Constitution.

“While the Government works on the amendment to the Education Act, we continue to ask for the Government to urgently release a circular…

“This will ensure that no further time is wasted for children to remain out of school while we amend the law and the children concerned join others this January in school,” Mashayamombe added.

Free basic education was stopped during the early 1990’s at the height of government’s Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) that witnessed massive reduction of social services.


 

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