Zvamaida Murwira : Senior Reporter
Government yesterday said only boarding schools reserved the right to turn away pupils for failing to pay boarding fees and warned school authorities against excluding children over school fees. Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government will take decisive action against school authorities that turn away pupils over school fees.
The warning comes after reports that some schools were chasing away pupils over non-payment of school fees.
“No child is supposed to be excluded from school over non-payment of school fees. This has been the position of our ministry for a long time and we have not moved from that. School authorities should make arrangements with parents if there is anyone with outstanding school fees.
“It is only boarding schools that can do that and strictly in respect of payment of boarding fees. That is the only basis a child might be excluded because that child would need to eat. You cannot expect other parents to pay for another child’s food,” said Prof Mavima.
He said parents sent their children to boarding schools and should know that there were obligations that went with that decision.
“Sending a child to a boarding school is a choice that a parent makes hence they should pay boarding fees to allow their child to be admitted. In respect of other school requirements like tuition or school fees, parents should make arrange- ments.
“ If you are aware of any school that is turning away pupils on account of school fees, please let us know. There has not been any reported case that we have received that we have failed to act.”
Prof Mavima said his ministry had intervened in cases where some school development committees had prevailed over some headmasters and turned away pupils over non-payment of school fees.
“At one of the schools, I had to personally call the school head asking him to rescind the decision to turn away children. It is a position that we have pronounced several times and each time we receive complaints we take decisive action,” said Prof Mavima.
Schools opened on Tuesday and some have been turning away children to induce payment of school fees.