Pay children’s school fees, parents urged
Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
PARENTS must pay fees and levies for their children to keep the education system functioning normally, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Torerayi Moyo, has said.
Addressing pupils, teachers and stakeholders during the third National Annual Science, Sport and Arts Festival (NASSAF), which ended last Friday at Chaplin High School in Gweru, Minister Moyo said it was the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their children are not disturbed by the failure to pay fees on time.
“There is an issue that keeps on happening in schools and that is barring pupils from schools over failure by their parents or guardians to pay school fees and levies,” he said.
“As the ministry, we emphasise that no pupil should be turned away over non-payment of fees according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Turning them away is a violation of the pupils’ rights.
“No school is allowed to turn away students for whatever reason and if you commit a crime, the long arm of the law will descend on you.”
The minister said parents should understand that the responsibility for failure to pay school fees is on their shoulders hence they must realise that quality education will be compromised unless they play their part.
“However, it’s a prerogative of parents and guardians to pay fees and levies for their children on time,” he said.
Given the prevailing socio-economic challenges, the minister explained that the Government has put in place safety nets such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme to cushion those from disadvantaged homes.
The programme was adopted in 2001 and pays tuition and examination fees, and levies for underprivileged students.
“Those who come from disadvantaged homes we have social nets such as BEAM, which is disbursing fees for the pupils from disadvantaged homes,” said Minister Moyo.
“Yes, we hear that here and there, there will be delays in the disbursing of the fees and we will appeal to the Ministry of Finance to expedite the payment of BEAM so that school activities are not disrupted.”
He applauded the teachers for playing an important function in unpacking the curriculum and delivering it the best way to achieve the 21st century transformation.
“As we celebrate the contribution of our teachers, we also recognise the important role that our school leadership is playing on the ground because this sector will rise and fall on the basis of service delivery on the ground, at school level, inside the classroom, outside in the field, in the practical learning areas,” said Minister Moyo.
“Of course, the most important results are achieved when our school leadership, parents, pupils themselves and the wider communities work as one team.”
Minister Moyo emphasised the need to link character development and mentorship to ensure knowledge and skills is couched within a sound value system, the right attitude, healthy self-empowerment, as well as good personal habits that bring out Zimbabwean virtues of unhu/ubuntu.
“We all know that the issue of substance and drug abuse is of national priority because if we did not take care of this menace, all these beautiful things we have seen here and the potential benefits of the curriculum may not be achieved because of this important imperative,” he said.
“All schools should, therefore, consistently reinforce current efforts to eliminate substance and drug use, misuse and abuse amongst our pupils, around our communities and even in our families.
“We have to fight this as a united force using our schools as centres of excellence to ensure that vision 2030 is achieved,” said Minister Moyo.