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Do not bar pupils over unpaid fees – Government

by BustopTV

By Lloyd Takawira

Government has sent out a directive ordering school heads not to turn away students from schools over unpaid tuition.

This comes after a number of pupils were chased away by school heads over their failure to pay their school fees.

Last year, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education released circular Number 3 of 2019 which outlawed the chasing away of school children for non payment of fees .

The circular read, “No school-aged child shall be denied a place at any registered school or turned away from school on the grounds of failure by the parents/guardians to pay fees and/or levies. The same applies to denial of school entry on the grounds of disability, lack of birth registration documents, inadequate uniforms and other forms of discriminatory practices.”

The memo followed the ministry’s 2020 strategic plan that about 27% children of a school-going age are failing to attain an education because they cannot afford the fees.

Speaking to the media, Tag a Life International (TaLI) executive director, Nyaradzo Mashayamombe yesterday (Monday) said the 27% might be an understatement, as the statistics might be as high as 40%.

“Two weeks into schools opening, it is business as usual and poor children are being sent out of school as nothing has changed despite that there is a new policy on access to education for all,” she said.

“The policy needs to be publicised.

“Circular No 3 of 2019 should ensure that children without fees have access to education and to demand reports on how many poor children have been accepted.”

In 2019, hoards of civil society organizations together with Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education pushed for an “every child in school” policy to allow poor children into schools.

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