Some boarders were left stranded at their pick-up points in Harare yesterday ahead of the opening of the 2016 First Term today as school authorities denied them access to school buses over failure to pay fees.
This came as Government reiterated yesterday that no pupil should be turned away for failure to pay school fees and that the moratorium on fees increases still stood.
A survey by The Herald showed that schools like Bradley Institute, Mazowe Boys High, Howard High all in Mashonaland Central, St Benedict’s High in Mashonaland East and Mawuya Adventist School in Mashonaland West were barring students from boarding buses without paying at least half the fees.
Father Simbarashe Mafanise from St Benedicts High School said parents needed to play their part and pay at least half of the fees.
“Initially, we wanted parents to pay full fees, but since things are not okay for them we have given room for payment of half the fees,” he said.
“We understand that parents are facing financial problems, but they need to understand as well that they are sending their children to a boarding school. What do they expect their children to eat when they send them to school without any fees?”
Some of parents with pupils who had been denied access to the buses said they were facing a tough situation, but wanted their children to go to school at the same time with others.
Parents with children at Nyazura Adventist High School said the terms were favourable as they were made to pay at least 70 percent of the fees.
Pupils at Mutendi High School in Masvingo were allowed access into the buses even without paying the school fees.
The school’s transport coordinator Mr Joseph Mufigo said parents were still expected to clear their dues.
The city centre was a hive of activity yesterday as some parents made last minute purchasing of school uniforms and stationery.
Primary and Secondary Eduction spokesperson Mr Patrick Zumbo said yesterday that no child should be sent home for non-payment of fees.
“It is the right of the child to engage in lessons even without paying the required amount of fees and as we have always said, schools have no right to send children away over non-payment of fees,” Mr Zumbo said.
“The issue of levies and payment of fees is for the parent and the contract to supply education services is between the parent and the SDC (school development committee) or the parent and Government, so no child ought to be disturbed during lessons.”