Wednesday, 2 August 2017

PARENTS IN EXAMS VICTORY

THE High Court has blocked authorities at Gubula Primary School in Matobo district from barring pupils from writing their mid-year examinations over non-payment of school fees.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere followed an urgent chamber application by two parents challenging a decision by school authorities to bar their children from writing their mid-year examinations over non-payment of school fees.

“The respondents be and hereby barred from excluding the applicants’ children from sitting for their mid-year examinations over non-payment of school fees,” ruled the judge.
In papers before the court, Ms Sithenjisiwe Moyo and Mr Pios Ndlovu, through their lawyer Mr Prince Butshe Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, cited Gubula Primary School headmistress Ms Prisca Khumalo, Gubula Primary School Development Council (SDC) and Matobo district education officer, as respondents.

The two parents sought an order permanently barring the school from excluding their children from sitting for their mid-year examinations. Ms Moyo’s son is in Grade Seven while Mr Ndlovu’s daughter is in Grade Four.

In her founding affidavit, Ms Moyo said the decision by the respondents was illegal and tantamount to self-help.

“My child is doing Grade Seven at Gubula Primary School and due to my husband’s illness I have not been able to pay school fees for my son for the first and second term. On July 20, 2017, mid-year examinations started at the school but my son together with several others were barred from writing the examinations by the school head with the support of the SDC. I submit that barring my child from writing examinations amounts to self-help by the respondents,” said Ms Moyo.

“In my view, it is wrong to bar my child from writing mid-year examinations since he has no contract to pay the school fees. I am the one responsible for the payment of school fees. The respondents can issue summons against me in order to recover what is due to them.”
In his supporting affidavit, Mr Ndlovu said his daughter would suffer prejudice if she is not allowed to sit for the examinations.

He said they tried to engage a local ward councillor to assist them to no avail.
The Government policy is that no pupils should be sent home for non-payment of fees but school authorities should take legal action against defaulting parents or guardians.

According to the 2017 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) report on Rural Livelihoods 63 percent of pupils were turned away from schools in rural areas over non-payment of schools during the first term of this year. ZimVac recommended that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should be strict in ensuring that the schools adhere to the stipulated policy

“Nationally, at least 63 percent of the children experienced being turned away for non-payment of school fees. Generally, the proportion of children who were turned away from school during the first term of 2017 was high in all provinces. This is so despite there being in place a policy that discourages this practice,” reads the report.

“The high proportion of children who were turned away from school due to non-payment of school fees is worrisome. This calls for stricter monitoring of the implementation of the Government policy for universal primary education and its complementary policy which states that no child should be denied access to schooling for failure to pay school fees.” Chronicle

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