|EDITORIAL COMMENT: Caution needed in applying indigenisation to education|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:55|
Some mission schools and most trust schools do use a provision in the Companies Act for non-profit-making companies to assume a legal identity, gain limited liability and ensure that they have proper financial accounts. The same provision is used by other non-profit making organisations like charities and even the National Blood Transfusion Service.
But in these cases no one owns any shares, the ownership is held in trust. In effect such schools own themselves with a totally unpaid “directorate”, their governors. They were set up to provide a service, not give anyone an income. Another large group of mission and private schools were established by religious communities.
Again they are there to provide a service, not make money.
Indeed the older schools in these groups fought the Rhodesian Front government successfully throughout the 1960s and 1970s to be open to all and refused to accept racial separation or racial quotas.
With independence in 1980 the Ministry of Education, Sports, Art and Culture simply wanted them to remain open to all and welcomed their presence as they relieved pressure on the State system and allowed the ministry to concentrate its limited budget on its own schools.
We cannot imagine that the Indigenisation regulations apply to these non-profit schools, since they are not businesses, and feel that some people are just trying to make political points by frightening parents. But perhaps the regulations could make that clear.
Most are small nursery schools owned by a single teacher, usually in rented accommodation so are unlikely to fall within the ambit of the regulations. And since any qualified teacher can get a licence to open such a school, and start up costs are minimal, there seems no reason to be over-zealous.
This just leaves a small number of primary and secondary schools that are owned by one or two people and are expected to make a modest profit for their owners.
have for education, foreigners and non-indigenous Zimbabweans are very rare in this area.
The upshot appears to be an attempt to control the future, rather than the present, and ensure that if any foreign educational company wants to enter the Zimbabwean market they will not only have to satisfy the educational authorities, who do lay down some tight conditions, but also have local partners.