THE government and parents owe the financially hamstrung Bulawayo City Council over $1 million dollars in unpaid tuition fees and levies for the 2013 third term at council primary schools.
Councillors said contract forms compelling parents and the government to pay fees on or before schools opened should be introduced to ensure council schools recover money due to them.
According to council minutes of the health, housing and education committee report, parents owe council $573 422 and
$421 526 in unpaid fees and Parents Teacher Association (PTA) levies respectively for the 2013 third school term.
The government owes council $35 617 and $27 606 in unpaid fees for underprivileged children under its Basic Education Assistance Module and PTA levies respectively.
The government debt to council is set to further increase as the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry was only allocated $15 million in the 2014 national budget compared to $73 million it had requested from national Treasury.
“The director of housing and community services reported to the health, housing and education Committee (February 11 2014) that the academic year 2013 drew to a close with the section having faced some challenges in the collection of tuition fees and levies,” the report said.
“It was perhaps time council reconsidered the issue of contract forms that compelled parents to pay fees for their children on or before schools open. Failure to do so would result in legal action being taken against such parents as per statutes. At the moment, this was difficult as parents had no contracts that they sign to ensure they stick to their promises,” the report reads in part.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo and councillors supported the introduction of contract forms as necessary to ensure council gets paid for its schools.
The report added: “The huge amounts of tuition fees and levies that remained unpaid at the end of every academic year needed to be reduced so that schools operations could improve.
“Quite a number of parents needed to be called to take up responsibilities for the education of their children. Heads of schools had done their best in ensuring that all the children are included in the education system.”