Schools continue to send poor kids home

Authorities at schools such as Dimbe Primary in Marondera East Rural continue to defy government instructions that no child should be denied access to education for failure to pay fees. Three weeks after schools opened hundreds of poor children are yet to set their feet in the classroom.

“My seven orphaned grandchildren were sent back home on the opening day of school and continue to be chased away on sight, as fees have not been paid. I have no regular income and cannot afford the $10 per term. I do not remember when I last put a US dollar in my pocket. For now, the idle grandchildren pass time herding our neighbours’ cattle for a pittance,” said Mbuya Neria Murimi of Musunze village.

The headmaster at Dimbe Primary, who only identified himself as Sangare, said those who had not paid 2011 school fees were being sent home.

Children without stationery such as exercise books were also being sent back home since UNICEF no longer donate the items to schools. “As a school we are not in a position to provide children with the required stationery hence the dismissals,” said Sangare.

The Minister of Education, David Coltart, has repeatedly said it is against government policy to send home children who fail to pay fees. “Education is a right not a privilege for every child,” says Coltart.

The plight of poor children has been worsened by government’s failure to sustain the Basic Education Assistance Module due to lack of financial resources.

The future of many rural children remains bleak. Stella Mujoma (10) of Village 19 Nhowe said: “My grandmother cannot pay my fees so my dream of becoming a medical doctor look shattered.”

Post published in: News

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