NCHIMUNYA CHIDAKWA writes
MEMBERS of the public have hailed government for revising school fees in public schools and colleges and banning contributions of materials from pupils.
Callers to Millennium Radio’s Morning chat show presented by Mwelwa Kapaso, yesterday praised government for not only revising the fees but re-introducing of the continuous assessment for all grades. Under the new system, pupils would only progress to a higher grade if they passed and were able to read and write. Most parents who phoned the radio station said it was said that pupils were progressing to secondary school without being able to read or write.
Some of the callers also praised government for banning the pupils from providing cleaning materials or being forced to provide such things as tissue to any school authority.
“I can say that government is thinking of us poor people especially in rural areas. This is going to help us the parents,” one caller said.
At his press briefing on Tuesday, Minister of General Education David Mabumba said, “Public Schools should comply with the revised fees structure therefore I do not expect pupils to take things like reams of paper, cobra, toilet paper and paint among others as a school.”
Mr Mabumba urged public schools to stick to the stipulated school fees to enable school opportunities to be accessible and financially convenient to all including the average citizens.
This followed a number of complaints from the public on the fees structures that appeared more costly than the revised fees that effected May 13, 2019.
Mr Mabumba said schools could only ask for such items from pupils with permission from the Ministry of General Education.
He said Government had released grants to the schools that covered about 90% of school affairs. Which meant there was no need for the school management to ask for monies from the learners.
And Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary Dr Jobbicks Kalumba said fees had not changed secondary day user fees were still K200 and college scholars at K1, 000 for accommodation and food, K800 as general purpose and K500 for their practice.
“We learnt that some schools are charging our learners K600 which is a yearly fee instead of charging them K200 the termly fee. But how will a parent that is only selling groundnuts and cassava manage to pay that amount and keep their children in school. We are appealing to our public school management to comply with the Ministry orders,” Dr Kalumba said.