-Scores of villagers in Ng’umbo area of Samfya have raised concerns over the application of the ‘Free Education Policy’ from grade one to seven, saying they are discontent to subjection of paying any fees for their children in primary education.
This came to light during ‘subsidy removal’ sensitization meetings held by Lands Deputy Minister, Mutaba Mwali, in the company of some Luapula Province and Samfya District PF officials at ten centres in Chitembo , Mwewa and Mwansakombe Chiefdoms in Chifunabuli
Francis Chilangwa from Mwewa Chiefdom was among the majority that queried the interpretation of government’ s free education policy owing to the fees they are subjected to pay at different respective schools in the chiefdoms.
Echoing similar concerns, Mary Musamba of Lubwe bemoaned the situation of paying fees at primary level, saying the figures involved vary per school causing villagers to wonder why that was the case.
She further implored on Dr Mwali, who is area MP, to urgently facilitate for the establishment of a police post at Lubwe, a centre with a high population to handle what she termed, increased cases of lawlessness as Mwewa police post and Samfya Police Station are too far away to deal with the criminal elements.
But PF Luapula Provincial Vice Chairperson, Benard Chisanga, corrected that the PF government had the free education policy in its manifesto from grade one but said what could be misconstrued as school fees are Parents Teachers Association (PTAs) agreed contributions per child for particular matters of attention in a school.
Mr Chisanga said the PTA fees were an agreement between parents and respective school administrations reached during executive and Annual General Meetings which as far as he was concerned were based on consensus.
The villagers commended Dr Mwali for meeting them to explain developmental and pertinent issues such as subsidies in their respective areas and encouraged him to continue doing so when need arose.