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Harare school, parents clash over fees

BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI

Parents and management at Maranatha Junior School in Harare are at loggerheads after the institution demanded payment of fees for a “non-existent second term”.

Government deferred the re-opening of the second term on June 28 following a surge of Covid-19 cases.

Schools were to remain closed under lockdown measures announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the onset of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic at the end of June.

Government ordered schools conducting online lessons to have their plans first approved by authorities.

The school wrote letters to parents demanding that they pay “outstanding” fees for the “second” term.

“According to our records, your child has not yet paid the full fees,” read the letter in possession of Standardpeople.

“Only paid up students and with admission cards shall be allowed in class as from Tuesday 13 September 2021.

“You are free to bring proof of payment for reconciliation purposes to the accounts office if ever you have serviced your fees.”

Parents said their children were not registered for the online classes while others believe there was no need to pay full fees for a term that never was.

“If you check the letter they don’t mention the term in question. They just say ‘your child has not paid full fees’, and when you check with them they tell you, it’s fees for second term that never existed,” said one parent.

Another parent said his child never registered for online classes.

“We don’t have access to WiFi at home and the child never attended an online class. Why does the school demand full term fees?”

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said schools should not demand fees payment for the “second” term.

“Fees are only due for first term and this second and final term this year,” Ndoro said.

When contacted yesterday, a woman who answered the phone at the school said she could not divulge such information over the telephone.

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