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Highest number of pupils sent back home in May over fees

by Stephen Jakes
13 Jun 2017 at 09:58hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Peace Project has reported that in May there was a high number of pupils sent back home for school fees in the country.

"This May ZPP recorded the highest number of incidences where pupils were sent away from school for failure to pay school fees or clear the previous term's arrears. This was in contravention of Section 75 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to basic education. At the beginning of the academic year, in January, ZPP recorded cases where students' results were withheld because they owed fees," said ZPP.

"There were nine cases in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, of pupils barred from attending lessons because they had not yet paid their fees. Such cases increased significantly this month. All ten provinces were marred with cases where children were denied their right to education because their parents could not afford to pay fees on time. At Nkanyezi Primary School in Lobengula, Bulawayo, nine pupils were withdrawn from Early Childhood Development (ECD) after their parents failed to raise $64."

ZPP said the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora, has previously said schools have contracts with parents not children and therefore children should not lose out on lessons because parents have failed to fulfil contractual obligations.

"Many families are reeling in the impacts of a deteriorating economy. A remarkable number of human rights violations where community members were forced to contribute towards Zanu PF's initial 'Youth interface rally' in Marondera slated for 2 June. The rallies to be held in all the ten provinces are a platform for President Robert Mugabe to launch the 2018 elections campaign. Zanu PF is targeting mobilising 100 000 youths per province," said ZPP.

"In areas like Mudzi and Wedza in Mashonaland East, people were coerced into contributing money ranging from 50 cents to a dollar in order to ferry supporters to the rally. This went against the will of many people who support the party but could not afford and those that do not support the party and had no ambitions of attending the event. ZPP is in possession of a list of teachers' names from Munamba Primary School in Murehwa District who were forced to each contribute $1 towards preparations for the rally. It's a violation of freedom of association to force people into contributing funds for and or attending events of a political party that they do not subscribe to."

The ZPP said civil and political rights have been commonly violated ahead of previous Zanu PF rallies like the 'One Million Man March' and First Lady Grace Mugabe's 'Meet The People' rallies.

"In 2016, ahead of the 'one million man march' that was held in Harare on 25 May, 88 incidences of harassmentand intimidation were reported and in the month under review the figure dipped slightly to 82. Such violations where community members are forced to attend Zanu PF rallies continue to occur despite the Zimbabwe Constitution in Section 58 provides that no person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering," said ZPP.

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