The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has warned heads of government schools against defying laid down guidelines by hiking fees saying they risk being dismissed from service.
Since the beginning of this year’s school calendar there has been a public outcry from parents over fees increase which is beyond the reach of many. Some schools were charging fees or levies exclusively in United States dollars which is at variance with the country’s monetary regulations which allow a multi-currency system.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro said hiking fees without approval from the Government is an act of misconduct.
“Heads of public schools who defy the directive would have defied the Permanent Secretary and that is an act of misconduct, so they will be charged. The penalties they face might include dismissal,” said Ndoro.
He added “Non-Government schools who do not follow the laid down procedure risk being deregistered.”
Under the regulations, a fee or levy rise must be properly budgeted and then presented to the parents at a special meeting.
At least 20 percent of parents must be present at the meeting, with their names recorded, and a majority must approve.
The minutes of the meeting, the list of those present, and the budget statement must go to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for the permanent secretary to approve.
While fees can be set in US dollars, the actual payment can be made in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate on the day of payment. In some instances parents are forced to pay in US dollars because school peg exorbitant local currency fees which are way above the interbank rate.
The Education Act stipulates that no leaner can be excluded from any public sector school for non-payment of fees.