Maputo — The management of the Chamissava Primary School, in the Maputo municipal district of Katembe, has been accused of extorting money from parents and guardians, threatening that, unless they pay up, their children will be barred from classes.
The denunciation came from a local resident, Isabel Vidro, during the meeting on Monday, marking the opening of the 2013 school year, which was attended by the mayor of Maputo, David Simango.
“The school director charges us 20 meticais (about 67 US cents) per pupil for the construction of the bathrooms, and if anyone doesn’t pay, their children can’t attend classes”, she claimed. “I don’t work, and I have six children. Where will I find all this money?”
“What school is this that doesn’t have bathrooms, and charges the parents and guardians money for bathrooms?”, she asked, to loud applause from other parents at the meeting.
But the director, Lidia Eusebio, denied that the collection of 20 meticais from the parents was a condition for their children attending school. She said that the decision to collect money for the bathrooms was taken at a meeting in which parents and guardians participated.
The Chamissava school is not an isolated case. Although enrolment in primary education is free of charge, many schools ask parents to contribute towards paying the wages of security guards, building bathrooms, walls and other installations, and it is widely believed that such payments are compulsory.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Eurico Banze, told reporters that parents could pay for some school expenses, but this should not be compulsory and should result from consensus between the parent and the school management.
“The contributions cannot be a condition for attending classes”, he said.
“But people can be asked to assist the school, within their financial capacities”.