Teachers are crying foul after school authorities allegedly withheld Grade 7 results for their children to force them to settle school fees arrears despite Government having taken over the obligation.
Several schools in Gweru stand accused of denying teachers’ children access to their results slips, saying they had not paid up school fees yet the fees is supposed to be paid by Government.
In February this year, as a way of improving the welfare of teachers and as part of a host of other incentives extended to civil servants, Government made an undertaking to pay school fees for up to three biological children per teacher’s family.
The promised figures amounted to up to $20 000 per child per term.
In May, the Government fulfilled its commitment to improving conditions of service for teachers after releasing $2,68 billion towards payment of their children’s school fees as agreed in February.
However, the Government is still to cover fees for the third term which has resulted in some schools withholding Grade Seven results to force teachers to settle the fees.
Teachers who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said it was sad that fellow workmates in schools had decided to withhold their children’s results over non-payment of fees by the Government.
“It is not like the money for fees is not coming. It will definitely come and here we are dealing with just delays in disbursement of the money,” said a teacher on condition of anonymity.
Another teacher said her child can’t look for a Form One place because she doesn’t have Grade Seven results.
“My daughter had got eight units and the secondary school that accepted her online wants the original results script and is threatening to give other pupils her place if we fail to produce the original script by the end of the week.
Her primary school is refusing to give us. I am a teacher and was waiting for the Government to make the payment,” she said.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima, said Government made an undertaking to pay the fees and the position still remains.
“This is now an administrative matter that the Ministry of Education should pursue with the Treasury. The policy instruction was given earlier this year by His Excellency, President E D Mnangagwa and still stands,” he said.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Zimta) secretary-general Mr Goodwill Taderera said the payment of school fees for teachers directly into their accounts through SSB was what the National Joint Negotiating Council agreed on.
“This was a proposal by the workers where we said rather than putting money into the school account, why not put money into the teacher’s account. We thought it was the best way to go as the school fees payment is concerned,” he said.
In 2018, the then High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi declared as unconstitutional the practice by some school authorities of withholding examination results for students as a way to induce payment of outstanding school fees. Chronicle