Schools are forbidden from withholding examination results for students whose parents still owe fees and must instead take action against the parents to recover debts, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema said last night.
This week, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council released O’ Level results, and some candidates have been blocked from getting their results, which they need immediately to secure A’ Level places.
Minister Mathema wants the debt recovery process to be strictly between schools and parents, without involving the children. The children were not part of the agreements entered between schools and their parents, hence they should never be disadvantaged.
Heads of public sector schools who continue withholding results of learners will face disciplinary action, while private institutions risk being sanctioned or completely de-registered for not adhering to the rules.
“Schools are not allowed to withhold results of learners,” said Minister Mathema.
“It is illegal for schools to withhold results over non-payment of fees. “Whether private or public, schools should find means of recovering what is owed to them by parents and guardians without punishing learners.
“Learners should be allowed to access their results timeously and continue with their education, while parents engage school authorities to clear outstanding fees.”
It was not the intention of Government to financially cripple the operations of schools, but was against punishing learners just because there were delinquent parents who at times fail to settle their dues. So the schools needed to take legal action against such parents without disadvantaging pupils.
“In cases where they do not agree or some parents refuse to meet their obligations, schools can take a legal route to recover their money,” said Minister Mathema.
“What is not allowed is for schools to deny learners access to their results.” Minister Mathema pleaded with all stakeholders in the education sector to play their part for a sustainable education system.
“Parents must also play their part,” he said. “If you are sending your child to school, you must meet the requirements set by schools like paying school fees.
“Parents need to be responsible as well. We as Government are playing our part and we urge all stakeholders to play their part for us to achieve the desired education we all want.”