Lilongwe, October 6, 2015: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has said that rumors circulating on social media that Government would want to introduce a K5000 tuition fees and others saying K950 per month in public Primary Schools are false, baseless and empty.
Director for Basic Education in the Ministry, Dr Joseph Chimombo, said Government has never discussed introduction of fees at primary school in the past 16 months and that there are no intentions to reverse the free primary education policy and cannot change the policy without proper consultations with stakeholders.
Chimombo said this on Tuesday, in Lilongwe where he was briefing the press to clarify on the ongoing rumors of introduction of school fees in public primary schools.
“We believe the issue has come about because of the hiking of tuition fees in Secondary Schools, but let me make it clear that as far as Government is concerned, Primary Education is free,” Said Chimombo.
The Director also took the time to raise concerns over the issue of Development funds and other activities in primary School in which students are asked to pay money or face being sent back home.
He said “It has also been observed with great concern that some primary schools in the country charge fees in the name of Development fund and other activities”
“While in collaboration with the School Management Committees, Parents and Teachers’ Association and communities, schools may fundraise for development and other activities, the current Ministry’s policy is that all children have the right to access education without any barrier and that no pupil shall be denied access to education because of such fees.
Chimombo said they are aware that Government funding cannot be enough to carter for all the needs of the schools, therefore fundraising in schools is acceptable but only when an agreement has been reached and that pupils whose parents cannot afford to pay these locally paid fees should not be sent home.
He also added that no student should be sent home for failure to buy school uniform but rather appropriate measures should be put in place so that those pupils that are not able to pay are still able to access their education.
According to Chimombo, the Ministry is also against the tendency of some head teachers and teachers that are organising extra tuition within school premises for which pupils are asked to pay, adding that no school is allowed to organise fee-paying extra tuition within school premises as they are indeed using Government resources.
He also condemned corporal punishment administered in schools in the name of discipline; saying corporal punishments in schools is forbidden and that pupils should only do work that is related to their education development and not work for teachers