Hardly a month after 400 students doing Form Five at Maun Secondary School were sent home for failure to pay their school fees, another 400 Form Fours were expected to be sent home for the same reason this past Friday.
This is according to the Chief Education officer of the Western district region, Osina Lufu Maunganidze. She said the 400 students will be sent home after all the persuasions to get them to pay school fees had failed.
”We have been left with no option but to send them home after they failed to pay school fees,” said Maunganidze.
She denied that the failure could be the result of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the district saying that, besides selling cattle, some parents have other means of paying their children’s school fees.
“I do not believe that the outbreak of foot and mouth disease can be wholly blamed for the failure of some parents to pay for their children’s school fees; some parents do not only depend on selling cattle to make money, they have other means of doing so,” she said.
She said that sending students back home for failure to pay school fees is effective as it encourages parents to dig dip into their pockets to pay.
For example, she said, all the 400 Form Five students they had sent home last month for failing to pay fees are back in their classes after they paid all the amount in part or in whole.
“This proves quite well that some parents just do not want to pay school fees for their children and not that they cannot afford to do so,” she said.
The issue of the government’s decision to demand that students pay school fees as a cost sharing measure was recently condemned in several kgotla meetings that the outgoing President Festus Mogae has been addressing around the country.
Batswana feel that the move to reintroduce school fees was a draw back to what the country had achieved in the education of Batswana, in line with Vision 2016 which calls for an educated nation.
Mogae has in one such meeting responded by saying that the issue can still be revisited.
Recently, the move to reintroduce school fees was also condemned by some Members of Parliament who said it is retrogressive.
Those supporting the re-introduction of school fees, on the other hand, argue that it is good in that it encourages parents to have interest in the education of their children.