We’ll Shut You Down, Mathema Threatens Schools
11 June 2020
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Cain Mathema

Private colleges bypassing Government’s approval to increase tuition may be closed, a minister has warned.

Some privately-run schools have been asking for top ups from parents outside the Government’s knowledge.

Responding to questions from the media during a Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema said errant schools would face the music.

Minister Mathema said there was a laid out procedure meant to be followed. “Procedures are very key and they have been communicated to our stakeholders from Parliament, trade unions, school heads on the processes involved in increasing fees.

“Private schools are guided by the laws in education, which are under my purview. If the schools continue doing that, without coming to the secretary for approval, I will certainly close them,” Minister Mathema said.

Reports indicate that before the official announcement of reopening dates by Government on Tuesday, private schools were already agitating for an early reopening.

A source who was part of the discussions said teachers’ unions and trust schools broke ranks when the latter suggested that they would wanted schools opened early as they could afford to put in place safety measures with ease.

“There was a point of difference between teachers’ unions and trust schools. Private schools were saying they want to open early because they rely on fees for survival,” the source said.

Private schools have been running online lessons for their pupils who are in most cases from well-endowed families.

They have used the activity as an opportunity to increase fees during the lockdown.

Lilfordia School, an private school in Harare, is currently embroiled in a bitter row with parents who are objecting to a US$1 000 top up to the fees already paid.

Government said one of the preconditions for consenting to a fee increase is consensus between the school and parents on the figures. -Herald/state media