EDITOR — I vividly recall President Robert Mugabe saying, at a rally in Gwanda, that schools are not allowed to send back pupils home due to non payment of school fees.
This was in line with Zanu PF’s election manifesto. There are many other election promises that he made which I believe the responsible ministries are in the process of implementing.
A minister should, therefore, not sleep on duty while the implementation process is being frustrated by some vestiges of the foiled regime change project within some ministries.
Failure to fulfil the election promises made by the head of State is tantamount to sabotaging him and it’s not in any way different from the regime change project. In view of this, the minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora should be on the ground to see if children are not being deprived of education because of their parents’ penury.
I have heard Dokora reiterating the president’s position but I feel more energy is needed on this issue.
It must not be business as usual at that ministry.
Minister, in case you are not aware, children are being sent back home for not paying school fees.
This is in blatant defiance to the president’s directive.
The way some of these headmasters send away pupils borders on child abuse. I am not saying school fees must not be paid.
I feel children must not be abused for a breach of contract that the school entered with their parents.
That child has no signature on the contract forms, thus she/he must not be punished at all.
It might sound theoretical but let me give a case study of a high school in Mashonaland East Province.
When Bishop Gandiya prevailed over Bishop Kunonga on their wrangle over the ownership of Anglican properties, the administration of that school also changed.
The new headmaster and his administration came in with their way of management which is unfortunately at cross purpose with the national vision. Twice in a month, pupils have been sent home for outstanding fees, some as little as $5.
I, for one, made a miscalculation and paid fees that were less by $10. My child was humiliated in class for being in arrears of that insignificant magnitude.
She and other pupils were gathered in the hall and ordered to board the kombis that were hired at exorbitant fares.
The headmaster never bothered to find out if the children had the fares.
My daughter knowing that she, as a candidate could not afford to waste that precious time going home, offered to pay the $10 using her pocket money. The administrators refused arguing that fees are paid through banks.
She begged for an opportunity to call me but was shoved onto the bus like a deportee.
For the four years my daughter has been at that school, not at anytime that I allowed her to go to school by public transport.
When she arrived in Harare, where we have been staying for only three months, the kombi just dumped her.
A good Samaritan who saw her crying contacted me. Unfortunately, we had left Harare the day before for my father’s funeral.
Although it was highly risky, I thank that man for offering my daughter accommodation until we came back.
My daughter could have been raped because I mistakenly didn’t pay $10.
When I took my daughter back to school, that’s when I learnt that one child was sent home, Kariba for that matter, for as little as $5.
It’s painful that these heartless school administrators are products of Mugabe’s favourable education policies like free education for all etc.
Minister, please do something, lest your party’s name is dragged into the mud.