THE Bulawayo City Council has crafted an education policy that provides a raft of measures to be adopted by all council schools and proposes to sue parents or guardians of pupils who fail to pay school fees.
It proposes to build at least two new schools annually to provide additional classroom space in a bid to cope with the ever increasing demand.
The education policy will run in tandem with and under auspices of Primary and Secondary Education ministry so as to align it with the national objectives and aspirations.
The present Education Act No 5 of 1987 authorised all urban local authorities to construct and later maintain primary schools in their areas of jurisdiction.
This was for the purposes of ensuring a fair and equitable provision of primary education.
Prior to that, the city council would build and then donate schools to the government.
The schools run by council fall under the community services branch of the housing and community services department.
According to a council report, the aim of the policy is “to plan for the construction, maintenance, equipping and staffing of schools — ancillary staff — of the section in a fair and equitable manner”.
It seeks “to plan for the provision of education rights to every child in the city without discrimination on grounds of race, tribe, colour, religion, creed, place of origin, political opinion or the social status of the parents”.
The policy states that “no child residing in the city shall be denied enrolment at a school close to where they live . . . No child shall be sent away from school for non-payment of fees or levies.
“Instead the school shall sue the parent or guardian with whom it has a contract.”
According to the policy, tuition fees are set by the government and schools cannot vary them.
“Every child attending a council school is expected to pay a tuition fee and a council levy,” reads the report.
“The council levy is determined by council and may vary from time to time, subject to approval by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.”
The policy stipulates that there will be two tests per year conducted for all classes in all schools for the purposes of gauging the performances of the pupils.
The first test would be midyear examinations at the end of the second term for all grades up to Grade 6.
Grade 7 pupils shall sit for the national examinations at the end of the year. Council schools shall not be used for any political activities by any political party.
In areas without community halls, sitting councillors shall be allowed to use the schools for a maximum of two occasions only per month.
Such occasions shall be for report back meetings to residents or other non-political civic activities.