Gov’t denies punishing students for parents’ 'sins'


The Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE) has denied any knowledge of students who are unable to proceed with their education because of outstanding fees.

MoBE assistant minister, Nnaniki Makwinja said they have not received any report on that matter. “We have never received such a complaint," she said. Makwinja was responding to a question from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane who asked if the minister is aware that some students will not be able to report for Form 4 as their parents are unable to pay their outstanding school fees. Reflecting on a statement made by the then minister in 2014, Makwinja said the ministry still maintains that no child should be excluded from continuing with their schooling or be denied certificates or anything else on account of debt owed to the school. “All debts resulting from failure to pay school fees, loss of both library and textbooks and any other debt incurred by a student should be followed up with the parents.

In a situation where a child is proceeding from junior secondary school to a senior secondary school, names and other information relating to the debt should be forwarded to the senior secondary school. The school where the child has been admitted will pursue the matter with the consenting parent,” she said. Makwinja added that it remains the responsibility of both the school head and regional directors to follow up with parents and collect money owed to the schools. She said the ministry had directed school heads through Directives and Savingrams to take heed of this issue and desist from denying students to obtain their certificates and testimonials.

Makwinja said they will orientate school heads because some of them get into these positions uninformed about such Directives. “It’s a challenge for us to go back and orientate our educators once again so that this issue raised by Moswaane never happens again,” she said. Moswaane said in January he complained about students who are denied letters of admission as a result of this. “We don’t know because the proof has not reached us. We don’t deny anything so if it has happened like you say, we apologise as a ministry,” Makwinja responded. Moswaane, among other things, wanted MoBE to explain the reasons for refusing to release admission letters to enable students to continue attending classes and if students are not being punished for their parents’ failures. Moswaane also asked if there are no means of holding parents accountable without disturbing the children’s education. In addition, Makwinja admitted that they still could not collect school fees because most of the parents take the issue lightly.

“We are facing a huge problem because it’s like the children are not theirs. We understand that some parents are disadvantaged but there are programmes at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, which can help” Makwinja said. She added that they cannot write off these outstanding debts simply because other parents cannot pay. Tonota legislator Pono Moatlhodi blamed MoBE for putting the entire burden on itself by failing to take action against parents who fail to pay school fees. “Gagamaletsang batsadi ba di phogwana,” he said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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