The War Veterans ministry is likely to lose thousands of dollars after
depositing school fees into a bank account belonging to an unregistered
private school in Marondera.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials on Monday shut down the Beautiful Beginners Group of Schools on allegations it was operating illegally in the Marondera industrial site.
The school enrolled several children of war veterans. Investigations by NewsDay established that the institution rents house number 19 Marondera Crescent in Winstone Park, which it uses as a boarding facility. Children are ferried from the house to the school.
The illegal boarding facility offers accommodation to primary school pupils and Form 1 students only. Beautiful Beginners has more than 100 pupils — both primary and secondary.
According to available documents, on May 5, 2016, the War Veterans ministry deposited $21 900 into the institution’s ZB Bank account number 4528127470080.
According to the ministry, Beautiful Beginners only registered as an early child development centre in 2013 and has been operating an illegal primary and secondary boarding school.
Efforts to get a comment from the school’s owner, Netsai Makamure, were fruitless, as she switched off her mobile phone after excusing herself, claiming she was driving.
NewsDay on Monday visited the school along with the Primary and Secondary Education ministry officials.
Provincial education director, Christopher Chihota confirmed the development.
“I received information from our officers on the ground that a certain organisation paid an amount of money as fees into a school account belonging to an illegal institution. The school is not registered and that is a criminal offence if the owners misrepresented themselves as legitimate,” he said.
“The school is illegal and should be shut. The unfair question will be from the parents as to why we are doing this. But when the enrolment was done, we were not there. If you want to operate a learning institution, just register it.”
War Veterans ministry permanent secretary Asher Tapfumaneyi said he will consult the ministry’s provincial representative over the issue.
“As a ministry, we cannot identify schools for war veterans’ children, but that is the obligation of the parent. We haven’t encountered such a scenario you are talking about and I will engage our provincial representative to look into the matter,” he said.
Other illegal schools that were shut down in Marondera on Monday, leaving hundreds of pupils stranded, are Garvey School of Excellence, Springhood Junior School, Aptec International College, United Success College, New Hope College and Rockhopper Education Centre. newsday