Parents cry foul over teachers demanding illegal incentives
Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent
PARENTS and guardians are concerned about teachers who are demanding extra fees and incentives to teach their children and have called on the Government to intervene to stop the illegal practice.
Teachers in many parts of the capital are reportedly charging extra fees ranging from US$5 to US$20 a child a month to offer extra lessons.
This comes after civil servants and teachers were awarded a lucrative package that includes a 20 percent increment across the board backdated to January 1, with the equivalent of US$100 of this in foreign currency.
There is also school fees support and 34 000 flats to be built on school grounds over five years.
At Warren Park 3 Primary School, teachers are reportedly demanding US$5 a child a month to conduct lessons.
If the money is not paid, the child is reportedly sent back home while those with parents who would have paid attend lessons.
In Warren Park D, a teacher is allegedly offering lessons at a local church to children of parents who pay the extra US dollar fee.
The demands by teachers have negatively impacted children whose parents cannot afford them as their children are not receiving lessons.
The practice is said to be rampant in public schools whose teachers are remunerated by Government. It appears to be prevalent in schools in high-density areas while others in low-density areas are also involved in the scam.
Teachers at Admiral Tait Primary School in Hillside, Harare, were yesterday also reportedly demanding US$20 a month for extra lessons.
The money is charged under the guise of raising money for caretakers and other workers who maintain the schools, but these are also paid by the State.
Avondale Primary School and its infant school have not been spared as teachers at the two schools are also reportedly demanding extra money from the children’s parents and guardians.
Some disgruntled parents have reported the matter to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education whose officers have descended on the concerned schools to assess the situation.
“Some members of the Avondale School Development Committee (SDC) have ganged up with individual teachers on strike to force parents to pay teachers in US dollars for children to receive lessons.
“The money, which is being called donations, goes up to US$20 per month per child,” said a concerned parent.
Mrs Sandra Moyo, a parent, said the teachers were elbowing out children of gardeners and maids who paid the school fees in local currency and cannot afford to pay in US dollars.
“Teachers and the SDC at Avondale Primary School are trying to take over teachers’ salaries at a Government school. The teachers are demanding US$20 per month per child for them to resume lessons.
“What is shocking to us is that these are not extra lessons but an extra fee to conduct normal lessons which a child should receive after payment of tuition fees,” she said.
Another parent, Ms Peggy Musimurimwa, from Warren Park said her daughter’s teacher told her that she must pay US$5 a month to attend extra lessons at the teacher’s house as they were not teaching children at school.
“My daughter is enrolled at Warren Park 3 Primary School and since the schools opened, she has been coming back home saying they are not learning.
“Yesterday, I received a telephone call from her teacher telling me that she has been teaching other children at her home and I must pay an extra US$5 per month for my children to join other children for lessons.
“This is not fair because I paid the full school fees as stipulated by the Government but my child is not receiving any education at the school.”
Director of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said the demand for extra money by teachers was illegal.
“Parents must report such teachers to district offices because this is illegal. Guardians and parents are urged to desist from promoting such unscrupulous activities and report the culprits to the nearest district office,” Mr Ndoro said.