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MPs want school heads punished

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THE Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Parliamentary Portfolio Committee has recommended that heads that send away school children for non-payment of fees should be punished by the government.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR REPORTER

Committee chairperson Oliver Mandipaka announced the recommendation when he presented their post budget analysis report at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“The committee recommended that heads that send away children for non-payment of fees should be dealt with by the ministry,” he said.

Government schools often defy directives not to bar children who fail to pay their fees on time from attending classes.

The MPs also called for tight regulation of private schools saying they should not be allowed to sprout everywhere.

“Ballooning of fees at private schools must be curbed and closely monitored and establishment of private schools should be allowable only if an area has no ready access to a government school,” Mandipaka said.

The report urged Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to provide money to conduct Grade 7 examinations saying they were at risk.

“A bid of $2,8 million was placed for the administration of the 2014 Grade 7 examinations,” Mandipaka said.

“This is against the background that parents do not pay for these exams.

“If no funds are provided from Treasury, Zimsec (the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council) will not be able to conduct this important set of examinations.

“Zimsec should be allocated financial resources to successfully administer the 2014 Grade 7 exams.”

The committee also recommended that an examination printing centre should be set up for Zimsec to print its own exam papers as well as generate revenue from printing for other exam boards.

The committee said serious attention should be paid to building and improving school infrastructure as 833 satellite schools needed upgrading.

“The ministry should consider private public partnerships (PPPs) and/or find ways to benefit from share ownership trusts and sovereign fund in the development of learning infrastructure.

“In addition, community assisted construction of schools will also reduce the burden on the fiscal authorities,” the MPs said.

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry was allocated $865 million in this year’s budget.

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