Masvingo City Council has resolved to approach heads at council-run schools amidst growing concern over complacency in paying school fees.
During a recent full council meeting, councilors resolved that the Director of Housing and Social Services convenes a meeting with school heads to discuss the complacency on timeous payment of school fees and remittance of school levies to council.
In a telephone interview, council Housing Director Levison Nzvura said he is yet to convene the meeting.
“We are going to have the meeting probably next week or later this week with the council school heads,” said Nzvura.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA) Director Anoziva Muguti said low income has caused parents not to pay their fees on time.
“Considering the harsh macroeconomic conditions, some parents are even failing to have food on their tables. They are not able to pay council rates, electricity or having difficulties in doing so. It is not that they do not want to pay rates, but they cannot afford to do so because of low incomes,” said Muguti.
Masvingo Residents Forum (MRF) Chairperson Brighton Ramusi said economic hardships are the major problem causing parents not to pay up their fees.
“Parents are not paying their fees because of economic hardships being experienced in the country. The lockdown restrictions affected the hustles of residents particularly those who are in informal trading since most residents are not formally employed.
“Again, it is said the parents are supposed to pay fees even of last year when their kids were not going to school. They should find a way to make parents pay their fees on time,” said Ramusi.
Masvingo Service Delivery Residents and Ratepayers Association (MASDRRA) Secretary General Moses Mavhusa however said parents with financial challenges should visit social welfare.
“The report from council that parents are not paying fees is worrisome if that is true. As MASDRRA, we say it is a parental duty to pay school fees for their children. Those with genuine financial challenges can also visit the Department of Social welfare. The Covid-19 pandemic affected the old normal hence most parents were affected in terms of businesses and income generation. We therefore urge council to engage parents and work a way forward, they can implement payment plans,” said Mavhusa.
Chikato, Dikwindi, Rujeko, Runyararo, Shakashe, Francis Aphiri and Vurombo primary schools are the council-run schools.