Parents outraged as govt threatens to shut illegal colleges

The government says it will shut down illegal colleges amid indications that only 131 colleges are legally registered nationwide. But this has been greeted with protests from parents who claim they were forced to enroll their children in illegal colleges because of the poor state of education offered by government schools in recent years.

About 3000 illegal colleges have mushroomed around the country over the past four years. Parents who spoke to The Zimbabwean said the government should first put their house in order before disrupting lessons in the colleges.

“How can they want to close the colleges when teachers in government schools are constantly threatening industrial action?” said Paida Zvitya, a mother in Harare.

Parents said that it was not their wish to enroll their children in sub-standard colleges, but they were forced to do so by the situation prevailing in the country.

“It was unheard of in the past to enroll children in these colleges, but we do not have any choice. The government should first address its problems with the teachers before we re-enroll our children in government institutions,” said Fanuel Muyambo, another parent in Harare.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Stephen Mahere,said most of the colleges did not meet the minimum standards, hence the decision by the government to close them. “Ministry has noted, with grave concern, that the majority of the mushrooming colleges do not meet the minimum standards required for accommodating and offering tuition to learners.

It has also become apparent that other registered colleges have since become illegal because they have not paid the annual and guarantee fees as required by law.

“All institutions operating outside the law should take this as a timely warning and with immediate effect, put their house in order by registering with the Ministry and pay the registration fees before the law catches with them,” warned Mahere.

Mahere said government would not be responsible for those students who would be affected because it was the responsibility of every parent to register his or her child in a licensed institution.

“Parents and guardians have an important role to play by ensuring that learners are enrolled in properly registered institution. It is incumbent upon all parents to first of all verify the status of any independent college at which they wish to enroll their children before they commit themselves,” said Mahere.

“For its part, and in ensuring that families and learners are protected from unscrupulous individuals and organisations that are bent on exploiting the nation’s quest for quality education, the Ministry has released a list of properly registered colleges which have paid the requisite annual registration and guarantee fees,” added Mahere.

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