Zimbabwe: Unregistered Schools Face Closure

A blitz to shut down all unregistered private schools will be launched soon as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education moves to bring order within the education sector.

Scores of unlicenced schools were mushrooming across the country, a development compromising the quality of education.

Speaking during an assessment tour of schools in Gokwe North district last week, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerayi Moyo said his ministry observed an increase in the number of unregistered private schools.

“Our ministry has observed that there has been a proliferation of private schools which are mushrooming everywhere in high-density suburbs, low-density suburbs. In villages we hear someone say I now have a school. A school must be registered, that is the requirement,” he said.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education regulates both public and private schools.

“If schools are not registered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, it simply means their operations cannot be regulated. As a ministry, we want to monitor activities taking place in schools for quality control,” he said.

“We want to know the qualifications of teachers in such schools and to also check if they’re adhering to our circulars. So let me warn those who are operating the schools illegally that a time will come when we will close all these unregistered schools.”

Turning to the issue of non-payment of fees, Minister Moyo once again warned schools against withholding examination results. Schools should release pupils’ results while negotiating with parents and guardians on how they can settle the debt.

The minister also urged parents to make sure that they pay school fees, levies and other payments on time and adhere to their payment plans.

“We have instruments in place to deal with those defying schools that continue to turn away learners based on non-payment of levies and tuitions. I am not saying learners should not pay tuition and levies, but parents must pay and pay on time,” he said.

“For those who face challenges, let us make some payment plans. You are supposed to release results for those candidates who sat for public examinations.”

There have been disturbing reports of some schools withholding results over fee arrears, while some public-sector schools were going against Government policy by turning away learners over non-payment of fees.

In Gweru, O Level learners at Fletcher High School are allegedly being denied access to their results over non-payment of fees.

“Four years ago when my son enrolled at Fletcher High School, one of the requirements was that we buy work suits, a toolbox and some electric components including conduits. But now we are being told that we owe the schools conduits,” said a disgruntled parent who declined to be named.

“However, we understand that pupils who refused to take those subjects are now being fixed.”

Midlands Provincial Education Director Mr Jameson Machimbira said they were seized with the matter.

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