Parents In Fees Dilemma As Schools Open

THE school third term begins on Tuesday and many parents interviewed over the weekend said they were struggling to raise money for their children’s school fees. 

They said the recent laying off of more than 25 000 employees had adverse effects on education,and was likely to see many students failing to go back to school.

Primary and Secondary Education minister, Lazarus Dokora, however, said parents had ample time during school holidays
to look for school fees and there were alternatives for those who could not afford fees at certain schools.

Lazarus Dokora said: “There is a process in place that should have given parents enough time to prepare for the opening of schools or find alternatives. Parents must do part payments and engage heads of schools. The companies
that lay off workers must cater for their former employees. They must realise that they have a social responsibility and must do something about it.”

Manuel Nyawo, the chief executive officer of Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said: “This is a time bomb waiting to explode.The students are going to be affected very badly as no school will take in students without paying school fees. The students that will be mostly affected are those in boarding schools. We do not know whether government will put in place any measures to protect the children. For instance, 2 000 of my members are without jobs, but

they have children to fend for.”

Kenneth Matongwana, a Mutare resident said: “This time it is very difficult for me. I lost my job last month after I was given three months’ notice. To make matters worse, I had taken a loan from my bank, of which I am now under pressure to repay. So I really do not know where to start from as I have not yet raised the school fees for my children. I will need $510 for my son who is at boarding school and an additional $178 for the other two children in primary school.”

Christine Chinguwo, from Mutare said: “At my children’s school, the fees have gone up. We are now being asked to pay $650, up from $500, yet things are not well. There is no money at all and I have gone for six months without pay.”

Harare resident James Manamike said: “I now sell opaque beer to raise funds for my children’s school fees. I was employed until I was given three months’ notice of termination of employment. After I sell this beer, I will be going to the rural areas to pay school fees. Schools do not care what is happening economically. They just want the
child to pay the fees when schools open in order to allow them to get into class.”

Manamike’s business partner, Last Mutsvene said: “I do not think there is any school that will sympathise with parents. I am trying to look for something that will help me so that I can get money for my children to go to school.”

Fidelis Matanhire, a Harare human resources consultant had this to say: “Schools are asking students to pay their
bills upfront. Children are asked to show receipts before schools open. Those children without the receipts are not accepted into the classrooms. Before getting into the school buses, borders are required to show receipts of payment
of fees.”

Chido Chinoda, a vendor and mother of five based in Harare said: “It is tough. I am in the process of selling things
to try and get money for school fees. At the gate during opening days, the schools demand that the student must be holding cash in hand.”


The Standard