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Parents withdraw kids from private school over fees

by Staff reporter
12 Nov 2020 at 05:45hrs | Views
Parents whose children are enrolled at the Welton Group of Schools in Beitbridge have withdrawn them from the private learning institution after they disagreed on a new fee structure.

The disgruntled parents said school authorities were demanding that they pay tuition fees for the second term in defiance of the Government's position, that term two fees should be forgone.

The school founded around 2008, charges R3 000 in tuition fees, US$80 food, and US$25 for personal protective equipment and is also demanding another R2 000 in operation fees for term two.

The parents are arguing that the school should not demand term two fees as per the Government's directive.

In addition, they want the meals allowances to be scrapped. They also want the school to pro-rate the fees considering that the third term has fewer days than a normal term.

Things got to a head on Monday when the parents and the school's director Mr Thulani Moyo failed to reach an agreement. The total enrolment was not readily available athough it's estimated that the school has 400 pupils.

"We tried to reach an agreement with the school director (Mr Moyo) and he was reluctant to engage us. Resultantly we all agreed to withdraw our children from the school until we resolve the outstanding matters," said a parent who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

Mr Moyo could not be located yesterday and his phone went unanswered for the better part of the day. The parents have also jointly written to school authorities requesting a full explanation of the fees for the second term.

"We believe that school fees are charged per term after having considered all the running expenses that apply to the school term in question.

"In view of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, everyone across the world was affected and most of the parents were not working due to the lockdown," read part of the letter.

They said the school authorities appeared to be ignoring the effects of Covid-19 on the parents' incomes. Instead, the parents want the fees to be calculated proportionately to the remaining number of school days left in the third term.

"You have been running the school for the past years and we believe the so-called operational costs were being included in the breakdown of school fees.

"In that regard, we further request that you be frank with us as your clients and give us a budget for term 3 fees adding up to the figures you want parents to pay as fees," said the parents.

A team to engage the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has already been set up to resolve the impasse.

A representative of the parents, Mr Barnabas Gamanya said they were hopeful that a solution will be found soon.

"We have had a meeting with the school authorities and officials from the parent Ministry.

"The school authority has promised to look into our proposal and communicate in due course. As such the children will only go to school when all parties reach an agreement," said Mr Gamanya.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communications, Mr Taungana Ndoro said there is no term two on the 2020 school calendar. He said after term one there was a lockdown and a phased opening of schools in term three and that the phases have a different fee structure.

Source - chronicle