13 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Parents Hail School Authorities On Fees

PARENTS and guardians last week said the new school term started on a positive note compared to previous years despite a few incidents in which some pupils failed to get places.

Most parents who spoke to The Standard expressed gratitude that the majority of the schools in the country had given them a grace period to pay fees and were not sending their children back home.

"They gave us a grace period for paying fees," Prisca Tome, who has children attending Dzivarasekwa 1 High School said.

"At least the children are in class and they told me they have already started lessons. It is better than in previous years, where they would send those without fees back home."

Tome was in a queue to pay the US$185 fees for each of her two children at the school.

She said she could not bask in the grace period as school authorities were unpredictable and could decide to send those in arrears back home anytime.

Those seeking vacancies at the school were waiting impatiently in a short queue outside the administration block. They were hoping to see the school head, who was said to be in a meeting.

Another parent said she had been turned away from several schools around the city because her daughter was transferring from a private college in the city centre.

Such schools as Dzivarasekwa 2 High had notices pasted at their entrances indicating they did not accept students from private colleges.

At Gillingham Primary School, also in Dzivarasekwa, there was a short queue of parents who were paying the US$30 per child fees for the term.

They said they were happy that the fees remained the same as last year, although they heard that an increment of US$15 had been proposed.

At Warren Park 6 Council School, a notice which read: "We have no places for all classes," greeted those who entered the reception area. An administrator at the school said the school's vacancies had been filled mid-2012.

Classes at the school were already in full swing, with just a small queue of parents who were paying fees.

The Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture David Coltart said the term had started well. "By and large, schools are functioning well -- learners are already learning and teachers are back at school."

The situation was almost the same across the country.

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