Illegal for schools to force parents to buy uniforms from them: Govt 

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education says it is illegal for schools to force parents to buy uniforms from them, adding that schools should also come up with innovative ways to raise revenue rather than chasing children away for nonpayment of fees.

Parents have expressed concern that schools are forcing them to purchase expensive uniforms, and in certain circumstances, individuals who cannot afford the uniforms have been denied admission.

Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Edgar Moyo, stated parents and guardians could buy uniforms where it is cost-effective for them as they are not required to buy at schools where their children learn.

“Children being forced to buy uniforms by schools is illegal.  We have a free market economy and parents are supposed to buy wherever they have a cost advantage,” he said, acknowledging that the education ministry was aware such had been happening.

“Yes indeed, it has happened and some of it has been brought to our attention and we have taken action against such schools and headmasters.”

Parents and guardians should be informed that what schools were doing is illegal, said the deputy minister, who added the ministry would also use its circulars to convey the same message.

“No school should force children to buy uniforms from them nor should they create a situation where if you have not bought a uniform from them, then you have not gotten a place.  That is not allowed, it is illegal,” Moyo said.

The deputy minister also encouraged parents and guardians to report names of schools that required them to buy student uniforms at their schools so the ministry could take action.

“We would like to get evidence of that and even names of such schools so that we can then take corrective measures,” he said.

As schools prepare to open for the second term, the deputy minister also said it was illegal for them to send children home for non-payment of fees.

“Then children being sent home, again it is the same thing and I think some court judgements have been pronounced with regards to that.  That is illegal. The contract of school fees payment is between the school and parents and the child must not be used to force parents to pay,” Moyo said.

“It is actually an abuse of those children denying their right to education.  So, we encourage schools to come up with innovative ways of making sure parents pay.  We have suggested that schools can sit with parents and agree on payment plans.”

He added that families who could not manage to pay fees can approach the ministry for the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).

“Where children are so disadvantaged like orphaned and vulnerable children, BEAM is there to assist them and I am speaking here for public schools.  The private schools come under a different mandate in terms of our Acts,” he said.

The deputy minister claimed that last year, 1.5 million children were covered by BEAM while this year, the target was to reach 1.8 million children. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button