Wednesday, 27 June 2018

GOVT REJECTS SCHOOL HEADS APPEAL

GOVERNMENT has turned down an appeal by the National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) to send away pupils from school for non-payment of fees.

Government policy bars schools from sending pupils away from school for not paying fees. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education urges schools to engage parents who can be taken to court for non-payment of fees.

Speaking at the annual Nash conference that was held in Victoria Falls recently, secondary school heads said they were struggling to run schools because of resources constraints.
They said parents were reluctant to pay fees as they were taking advantage of the Government policy barring schools from excluding pupils from class for non-payment of fees.

Nash president Mr Johnson Madhuku raised the issue while addressing about 1 500 heads.
“We are making a special appeal to our leaders to help us on this by conscientising parents to pay fees,” said Mr Madhuku.

Another school head accused parents of taking advantage of the Government directive that schools should not send kids away from lessons for non-payment of fees.

“We are expected to produce quality learners from good schools but with no resources. The Provincial Education Directors (PEDs) are on our case in a flush if we send children home to remind their parents that they didn’t pay fees.

“What we are asking for is to send them (kids) home and not chasing them away from school. We don’t have the mandate to chase them away but we want to send them home to remind parents that they haven’t paid fees,” she said.

Another school head said they were struggling to run learning institutions with little money paid by a few parents who are honest and responsible. In response, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Silvia Utete-Masango challenged schools to start income-generating projects.

She said some schools were mooting reducing fees for their learners because they were running income-generating projects and not relying on fees as the sole source of revenue.
Dr Utete-Masango said the new education curriculum encourages life-long skills learning which will lead to creation of “champion heads and schools”.

“There is an Education Strategic Sector Plan report where the Minister of Finance wanted projections of enrolment per district and province for planning purposes because employment and deployment is done based on enrolment.

“We are, however, working with the Public Service Commission to come up with champion schools and champion heads where there will be recognition for performance,” she said.

“The commission has said it’s difficult to grade schools based on enrolment and so going forward you will be graded on performance. The Secretary Merit awards will still be there but there will be added responsibility where the champion head and school will work in collaboration with other schools around them. Every year schools are recognised but then it ends there and now we are saying we need to go beyond that and challenge them by ensuring they develop surrounding schools.”

Dr Utete-Masango said income generating projects also embrace a number of learning areas under the education curriculum such as marketing and vocational training. Chronicle

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