WASHINGTON DC —
Schools opened Tuesday amid reports that some headmasters have engaged the services of debt collectors to recover fees and levies owed from last term.
In rural areas some school heads were said to be using kraal heads and chiefs to demand livestock as payment for outstanding fees owed by parents.
A Bulawayo-based parent, Stars Mathe Thebe, said despite the difficult economic conditions, parents and guardians are making efforts to make sure that children don’t drop out of school because of lack of fees.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said in a statement that it was sad that schools opened amid deepening political and liquidity crises that have also ushered in an educational crisis in the country.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said Zimbabwe’s education crisis is punctuated by lack of political will to invest in public education; obsolete, archaic and rusty curricula; dysfunctional Curriculum Development Unit (CDU); absence of a computerized database and defective and misleading literacy rate.
He said the other drawbacks are lack of information, communication and technology; mismanagement of schools and appointments that lack merit; politics-infested schools; lack of standardization; disrespect of teachers and unfair labour practice, among other issues.
Unless these issues are urgently resolved, said Zhou, Zimbabwe’s system of education is heading for disaster, poverty, high drop-out rate and unprecedented failure rate.
Education Minister Lazarus Dokora recently said his ministry will not reverse its decision to allow school authorities to take legal action against defaulting parents.
VOA Studio 7’s Jonga Kandemiiri reached out to Chief Edson Chihota who says schools should use other avenues to recover outstanding fees and levies instead of attaching property.