By Andile Tshuma
Montrose High School is barring pupils who have not paid fees from writing end of year examinations.
Angry parents said their children were made to sit in classrooms or in the hall while other pupils were writing exams.
A parent from Morningside suburb who requested anonymity said his daughter had missed three examination papers after the school authorities rejected his offer of a payment plan.
“It pains me as a parent to know that my child is going to school just to be detained in some room while others are writing exams. What the school authorities should appreciate is that it is not the children’s problem but our problem as parents. The authorities should therefore not punish children but should instead deal with the defaulting parents,” he said.
The school authorities refused to comment on the issue when contacted on Friday but referred questions to the Provincial Education Director Mrs Olicah Kaira.
When contacted Mrs Kaira said she was not aware that some schools in the city were barring pupils who have not paid fees from writing exams.
“While we encourage parents to pay fees on time, no pupil must be barred from writing an examination for non-payment of fees. This traumatises children as they are not the ones responsible for fees payment. It is the right of every child to be in class and to be able to sit for exams” said Mrs Kaira.
She however said she was aware schools were struggling as some parents were owing fees from first term.
Mrs Kaira urged school heads to engage parents and encourage them to pay fees on time.
“Pupils must pay fees so that schools can provide the stationery and other learning materials,” she said.
In 2011, the Bulawayo High Court ruled that it is parents who undertake to pay all fees for their children
when they bring them to school and failure to do so should result in legal proceedings being instituted against them.
The court ruled that school fees payment obligation was a contract entered into between a parent and the school concerned and not a pupil.
It said the said contract can either be express or implied.
The court also made it clear that it was improper to use pupils as pawns to enforce payment by either turning them away or withholding examination results because pupils do not have contracts with schools. The Chronicle