By Leonard Ncube
Parents have withdrawn their children from a private school in Victoria Falls saying they cannot afford the fees.
Amazing Kids Primary School is run by Mr Ozias Marange of Makomwe Transport and Hardware and has more than 100 pupils from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to Grade Two.
The fees is US$130 per term per pupil and parents have been appealing to the school authorities to discount them for this term.
Parents are accusing the school authorities of fleecing them as the school is also demanding US$6 per pupil for masks, an additional US$1 per pupil for fumigating the school premises and US$10 security fees per child.
The school opened on Monday yet is supposed to open next week according to the Government’s phased reopening of schools schedule and only two pupils attended classes according to parents.
The majority said they withdrew their children because the school authorities have refused to engage over the issue of high fees.
Schools closed prematurely towards the end of the first term as part of measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Government resolved to reopen schools in three phases to allow room to monitor the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education adopted Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to guide the safe reopening.
Examination classes reopened on September 28 while the last batch of non-examination classes will open next Monday.
Parents said the school should allow them to pay at least half the fees because the term will be only one month long.
“We have a problem with the school authorities. The school only has ECD up to Grade Two hence is supposed to open on November 9. They requested to open earlier which we didn’t have a problem with but as parents we asked them to at least reduce fees but they refused.
“We feel US$130 is too much for just one month. Instead of engaging us, they went on to block all parents on the school’s official WhatsApp platform so that no one raises the issue. That’s when parents resolved to withdraw kids,” said an angry parent.
Some have started transferring their children.
“Only two kids went to school on Monday and today (Tuesday). Many are considering transferring their children and it’s a protest action because the school authorities don’t respect us and have refused to meet us halfway. They should understand our plight that everyone was affected by Covid-19. “It’s not like we want to destroy the school but we just want them to be considerate. We enrolled our children there because it is a good school. We were shocked when they also started demanding US$10 per kid saying it’s a security fee for children to spend the whole day at school.
As parents we have drawn the line and withdrawn our children,” said another parent.
The school director Mr Marange declined to comment.
“It’s unfortunate that they went to the Press but I can’t talk about this issue over the phone,” he said before hanging up.
Government recently warned private and independent colleges that they risked being deregistered for violating regulations by demanding exorbitant fees.
Director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Taungana Ndoro promised to investigate the issue. The Chronicle.