Education Ministry Must Investigate Highlands Primary

I AM a parent with a child at Highlands Primary School. I am greatly concerned with the attitude and activities of the Highlands School Development Association (SDA) and the administration and am appealing for your assistance in exposing this so that the relevant authorities can take action.

Parents were asked to pay US$150-180 as the stationery and furniture fee last year so as to secure a place in class this year.

We have since discovered that no new furniture was bought as they are using furniture from last year. The only stationery bought was a pack of Chinese–made crayons which crumbled when used once.

The teachers are now asking parents to contribute crayons, bond paper, scissors, reading books, paint brushes and other materials for the children to use as the school did not buy anything despite the fact that parents had made a contribution.

The classes are overcrowded with an average of 38 children per class. The recommended maximum number per class is around 25. Some children in the classes have no seats and they end up sharing. To make matters worse the school keeps on enrolling more children.

Last week two new children were enrolled despite protests from the teachers and the Teacher in Charge about the inadequate seats.

The school is refusing to accept the gazetted school fees and is instead insisting on the levies of US$120 per child. Last month the school was demanding US$20 from parents with children in grade zero classes to guarantee places for grade one next year.

The SDA has also not updated parents on the funds raised at the Family Fun Day and how it is to be used.
I am therefore asking –– through your paper –– for the Ministry of Education to descend on Highlands School and carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that our hard-earned money is not being abused.
 
Tichaona Mukanya,
Harare.