The Deputy Minister of Education, Art and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka during her back to school remarks yesterday, warned schools that rejecting learners from registering because of lack of money must be stopped with immediate effect.
The deputy minister said this, after an incident of a learner who was rejected by a school because of an outstanding fee from a previous year.
She said, even though parents are urged to contribute voluntarily to the schools, it's not mandatory for the school to send away or reject learners due to that.
"Education is free; however, we continue to encourage parents to at least contribute something to the schools. For instance, if there is a programme that a school want to introduce, it's highly advisable for parents to give their inputs, however, those who are unable to contribute, must contact the school and find an agreement on the way forward but that should not be an excuse for a learner to be prohibited to enroll at that school," she emphasized.
Should parents encounter such a problem, they are advised to visit their regional director offices or the office of the permanent secretary and report it.
She said "It's illegal and children should also not be made to pay fees before they register because that will prevent those from less privileged families to enroll at schools of their choice."
Nghipondoka stated that incidents of learners being sent home because of funds mostly happens among wealthy schools.
In addition, the deputy minister also encouraged all learners who have not met the required performance targets and might need to repeat a grade to work extra hard and utilize the opportunities given.
"The full-time grade 10s of 2018 who improved their grades through part-time and to attain 23 points can apply with their original statements of results at the regional directorate, regional examinations offices to establish if there is a school with space in the current grade 10 for the NSSCO new curriculum," she said.
Nghipondoka further explained that the ministry advice that these learners should rather continue through part-time tuition centres in the old curriculum over two years, doing three subjects per year to obtain their NSSCO qualification.
Hence all schools are expected to officially start today, the deputy minister encouraged learners to continue dedicating themselves to their school work.