Home » Judicial » ’Engage Courts Over Fees Arrears’

Government has aised school authorities to approach the courts with immediate effect to claim outstanding fees owed to them by parents and guardians ahead of the opening of schools next Tuesday.

Primary and Secondary School Minister Lazarus Dokora told journalists in Harare yesterday that schools should seek legal recourse against parents who defaulted in paying levies and tuition fees since third term last year.

He said most parents were “hiding” behind the Government directive that no pupil should be sent away for non-payment of school fees.

“We this week expect to see school authorities busy compiling lists of defaulting parents and amounts owed and have recourse at the traditional and community courts, the magistrates courts and the small claims courts,” he said.

“Levies should be paid and Government simply protects the child that he or she should not be expelled because the contract to pay fees is between the parents and the school. While no child shall be expelled for non-payment of fees, it does not mean that parents should relax and find comfort in that. They should honour their obligation.”

He said school fees for this year at Government institutions including independent colleges remained frozen while voluntary levies or other unauthorised charges would not be tolerated.

“Additionally, no voluntary levies or unauthorised charges by whatever name shall be raised on invoices to parents,” Minister Dokora said.

He said while there was outcry over the banning of payment of incentives to teachers by parents, Cabinet had seen it fit to outlaw the practice.

“I spoke to teachers and we reminisced over how this facility had been institutionalised in my ministry when in fact we are not an employer ministry,” he said.

“This ministry is only a user ministry and consequently in 2010 Cabinet expressed itself on this matter and again on March 4 this year during the fifth Cabinet meeting of the new Government there was a clear statement.”

Incentives were introduced in 2009 to motivate the teachers who were getting meagre salaries.

Minister Dokora said incentives were increasing the cost of education.

“Pupils were also being segregated, those without the money being sidelined,” he said.

“And also the employer has reviewed salaries in tandem with what they negotiated between the line ministry concerned and the employer (Civil Service Commission).”

The ban has been met with resistance by teachers who argued that incentives should be outlawed when they start getting salaries that were in line with the Poverty Datum Line.

Minister Dokora said consultations for the review of the school curriculum in line with the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission would start within four months.

“What our children learn is of concern to us, both the formal and informal content,” he said.

“The curriculum content should remain relevant, taking the aancement in technology, to benefit the learner, family and national community. The high unemployment rate is testimony to this curriculum challenge hence the need to review it.”

The consultations will be done at school, district, provincial and national levels.

Non-formal education, Minister Dokora said, should be revitalised to develop the country’s human capital through education.

“There is an increasing number of children who are leaving the school system without productive skills,” he said.

“This has precipitated the need to revitalise non formal education to assist these out of school youths. The Ministry has established the department of Adult and Non Formal Education backed with quality resources.”

He said US$6 million secured from the Global Partnership for Education had been released to the Ministry for teacher optimization, supervision and management programmes.

“On 22 May, 2013, Zimbabwe became a member of global partnership and secured a grant of $23, 6 million over three years to support the implementation of activities such as teacher optimization and supervision.”

Source : The Herald