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Stern warning for errant schools

by Staff reporter
31 Oct 2022 at 04:50hrs | Views
Zanu-PF has expressed concern over the deaths of pupils in schools, extra lessons, and the charging of exorbitant fees including some exclusively in foreign currency.

This is contained in the party's Central Committee Report adopted at the 7th National People's Congress which ended in Harare on Saturday.

Zanu-PF's Department of Education said since the last Congress, it had noticed a disturbing trend where some teachers' unions are working with the country's detractors. This has resulted in the unions adopting a hostile approach towards the Government and oftentimes negotiating in bad faith on salary issues.

"Congress will recall that several cases of students deaths at boarding schools have been reported. It is the view of the Department that when students are at school, the headmaster and teachers are in loco parentis, and should take good care of students.

"Counselling services should be widely and easily accessible at all schools. We urge Congress to take a definitive stance on this matter," reads the report.

Zanu-PF also vehemently condemned the charging of exorbitant school fees.

"Congress will be aware that there are concerted efforts to destabilise our currency. This has resulted in numerous complaints reaching our office regarding the extortionate fees being charged by some schools countrywide.

"Parents have expressed the view that while they understand the difficult operational environment, the fees being demanded by some schools are too exorbitant," reads the report.

The Department further tasked the relevant ministry to take seriously their role of approving fees for the different schools in the country as any hardship encountered by parents is blamed on the Government and the ruling party.

"The period under review has presented serious problems for parents in respect of the payment of school fees. This has been exacerbated by some schools that are in the habit of demanding fees exclusively in foreign currency.

"The relevant ministry should take immediate remedial action, including de-registration of non-compliant schools. Congress is requested to pronounce itself unambiguously on this matter."

On extra lessons, the report said Congress will have noted that there is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the formal teaching framework by focusing on extra lessons.

"Many teachers are not attending to students during normal working hours choosing instead to do it in extra lessons where a fee is charged. If this situation is left unchecked, we risk creating a black market for education.

"Congress should therefore come up with a clear policy regarding the issue of extra lessons," reads the report.

The Central Committee Report said the Education Department also received reports of schools offering boarding facilities who have adopted the habit of demanding groceries over and above school fees.

"The amounts of groceries demanded vary from school to school. The relevant ministry should spell out clearly what the policy of Government is regarding this pervasive practice. It is the view of the department that any action by schools should be backed by Government policy."

Meanwhile, robust economic interventions initiated by the ruling Zanu-PF party over the past five years have seen the country's economy significantly rebound.

According to the Central Committee Report, the country registered a growth of 7,8 percent in 2021 compared to minus 6,2 percent in 2020.

Further, the Second Republic managed to deal with the adverse inflationary pressures which had reached a peak of 837,5 percent in June 2020 reducing it to 50,3 percent in July 2021.

According to the report, the party President and First Secretary who is also Head of State and Government, Dr Mnangagwa, intervened by announcing a number of measures in May 2022 aimed at curbing speculative behaviour in the economy, which was fuelling the inflationary pressures.

Measures announced by the President include tightening conditions on trading of securities on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to impair activities believed to be fuelling parallel market activities.

They also include disallowing the sale of shares and transfer of the proceeds to third parties for speculative trading in forex, temporary suspension of all forms of lending by financial institutions while allowing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to conduct investigations on individuals and companies involved in speculative activities.

According to the report, the party, through its Government, announced additional measures through the Ministry of Finance in June 2022 towards stabilising the economy including entrenching the multi-currency system and the inter-bank market exchange rate into law.

"Making it mandatory for businesses to use the willing-buyer-willing-seller exchange rate in all economic transactions, disallowing discounting of prices for payments made in US dollars.

"Reviewing downward fuel levies and releasing some fuel reserves from the Strategic Fuel Reserve and releasing some additional maize and wheat from the Strategic Grain reserves to millers," reads the Central Committee Report in part.

Source - The Herald