Govt warns over holiday tuitions
Mpika, August 13, 2014, ZANIS… Government has warned education authorities in Muchinga province not to charge pupils for holiday tuitions.
Muchinga Province Education Officer Jobbicks Kalumba has warned boarding schools in the area not to charge pupils fees for the holiday extra lessons.
Mr. Kalumba sounded the warning when pupils from Mpika Boys secondary school stormed the office of District Education Standards officer to air their grievances.
This was over the school head teacher`s directive that each grade 12 pupil must pay K130 for food if they were to be taught during the holiday.
The mob of pupils that included the Academic Production Unit (APU) who were also told to pay K100 each so that they could be feeding from the school even though they were day scholars said they failed to understand why they should be charged.
The pupils said the directive by the school authorities was against the circular issued by Education Minister John Phiri last year banning teachers from charging pupils for extra lessons during the holidays.
And Mpika District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Christopher Sinkamba has told ZANIS in Mpika that it was wrong and illegal to charge pupils money for food when the school has arranged for extra lessons.
Mr. Sinkamba said he instructed the head teacher for Mpika boys Allan Kaoma not to devour the ministerial directive of subjecting pupils to any payment within the holiday and wondered why the school decided to ignore the isntruction.
The DEBS said that it was theft to charge pupils when the minister had issued a circular instructing school managers to be reserving food if they want to conduct extra lessons rather than imposing another cost on innocent pupils.
When contacted for a comment Mpika Boys head teacher Allan Kaoma said the money that pupils were requested to contribute was for food and not tuitions.
Mr. Kaoma sad each pupil was asked to contribute K100 towards feeding for two weeks and not K130 which some teachers were demanding.
He added that the K11, 000 he collected from the pupils will be refunded today as instructed by the PEO.
Mr. Kaoma confirmed having received the ministerial circular banning payment for both food and holiday tuition but could not comment further.
And Provincial Education Officer Jobbicks Kalumba said in an interview that teachers are not entitled to any extra lessons allowance because they get their monthly pay from government including the one month holiday when pupils are not in school.
Mr. Kalumba explained that such teachers who want to frustrate Government`s efforts of ensuring that children have access to education will be dealt with immediately.
He has since directed the Standards Officer to monitor closely the attitude of teachers in the district adding that anyone who will be found wanting will face disciplinary charges immediately.
The school administration at Mpika Boys Secondary School has since refunded the pupils and ordered them to leave the school premises by the end of today.