Schools buckle under govt debt

OVER 30 council-owned primary schools in Bulawayo are buckling under a heavy debt, following government and some parents’ failure to pay tuition fees and levies since last year.

by Nqobile Bhebhe

By end of September, parents owed $1 423 270 for tuition fees and only $257 362 had been paid by end of term, while government has not paid fees for beneficiaries of the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) since end of 2014.

“As previously reported in past reports, payment of fees had been a struggle with more parents owing fees for a number of terms and some for a year or more,” part of the minutes read.

The new-look Molo Primary School blocks

“At the end of the second term 2015, parents were owing a total of $1 079 544 against payment of $509 282,50 for all the 30 council schools. The payments, up to the end of September 2015, were pegged at $257 362, with $1 423 270 owing for tuition fees. It is hoped this figure would reduce as the year and term came to a close.”

Last year, councillors proposed to introduce contract forms compelling parents and the government to pay fees on or before schools opened, but the proposal was shot down.

Early this year, some schools engaged debt collectors to recover outstanding fees.

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