Sharon Chigeza Mutare Correspondent
SCHOOLS that defied a Government directive to charge fees for Lower Six students on a pro-rata basis (based on the remaining days) and asked for the full amounts will face legal action, Government has warned. Manicaland provincial education director Mr Edward Shumba told The Herald in an interview last week that school heads that defied the ministry’s directive on fees, which was issued at the commencement of the Lower Six school term, would face the music.

Lower Six students commenced classes on March 5.
“All school heads, staff associations and responsible authorities received a circular dated February 28 giving a directive on how school fees were to be charged for the remaining weeks of the term for the Lower Six students.

“Schools were henceforth required to display this circular at administrative posts so as to inform parents and guardians of the fees structure, which had been put in place by the ministry,” he said.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education through its Permanent Secretary, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango, issued a statement dated February 28, stating that fees were to be paid on pro-rata basis for Lower Six students.

Part of the circular read: “This minute serves to advise all concerned that Lower Six classes will commence on Monday, 5 March, 2018. Secondary school heads are expected to offer Lower Six programmes in conformity to the New Curriculum Framework 2015-2022. Fees payable should be on a pro-rata basis of the approved amount arrived at by multiplying the number of days remaining in the term by the approved level of fees divided by the total number of days in term 1.”

A number of schools, however, defied the call and proceeded to request full term fees for enrolling Lower Six students, a move which has been challenged by a number of parents in Mutare.

A parent (name withheld) whose child enrolled at a school in Mutare was asked to pay the full fees and felt shortchanged.
“My daughter recently enrolled at a day school in the city and was asked to pay the term’s full fees in order to attend classes.
“The amount of work covered over the past few weeks was not in tandem with the fees charged and yet there are no extra classes to make up for the lost time,” she said.

“This year’s Lower Six students have the shortest term and yet we are required to pay fees in full. The school authorities should at least make an action plan to make up for the time in line with the money we have paid,” said another parent.

Mr Shumba urged parents to report their cases to the district schools inspectors in their respective districts such that legal action would be taken with immediate effect.

“Parents have a tendency of believing that being offered placement for their children is a privilege and willingly do anything to secure places with their rights being infringed. They fear blowing the whistle on such school heads all in the name of securing places yet at the end of the day they are the same people that come back to our offices complaining.

“I urge such parents to freely make reports to the school inspectors in their respective districts such that legal action may be taken against school heads that have defied the ministry’s directive,” said Mr Shumba.

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