Now that schools have opened, the government is monitoring how schools are operating, with a special interest in phasing out illegal colleges.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima recently warned all colleges operating illegally saying that the government was against their operations and if they continue these operations, the government would be forced to take the legal route of having them arrested.
The minister spoke at Kuwadzana 3 Primary school on how people were using their homes as schools and that it was totally absurd and not healthy for school children. As expected, the ministry has certain requirements for anyone who wishes to start their own school. Therefore, if one cannot meet the ministry’s requirements, it then follows that they should not operate, else they’ll have to face the wrath of the law.
Well, I know of one college that operated without meeting any of the ministry requirements. To make matters worse, they are located close to where the ministry’s offices were once located (in town), yet there was no intervention whatsoever from the ministry. Whether the ministry knew of this college’s existence and had something to gain from its operation, or they weren’t diligent enough to know that such was happening under their nose, that I do not know.
The danger of illegal colleges is they are not accountable to anyone. Imagine paying fees for your child at a school that is not registered, anything is possible. The owners can easily disappear with people’s school fees and to be frank, reporting to the police won’t be too helpful either.
The minister said thieves operating illegal colleges were taking advantage of shortage of schools in new settlements and this was not acceptable. He said
I was once invited at a certain house at one of the cooperatives. This person had built a big house and he said there is an opportunity here. I will turn this 10-roomed house into a school. I will stay in the cottage. I told the person I will make sure you are arrested if you do that.
The minister said these operators were destroying children’s lives as they probably do not have trained personnel tutoring the students. At some of these schools you get one teacher teaching all 8 subjects, and yet is not qualified for any.
It is not fair for children to be subjected to schools which wont offer them proper education just because all they care about is making money and not good grades. Most colleges tend to be flexible to children on the hours they learn and allow for late payments of fees which in turn attracts parents and students to their colleges. Some even go all the way to adopt uniforms as well as the names of popular universities overseas just so they attract more people.
Nevertheless, Mavima assured the gathering that the government was working on massive school development and an infrastructure development programme in order to cover the gap of school shortages in new re settlements. He also promised to construct new schools this year, all with the hopes of helping people move away from their dependence on unregistered colleges
Hopefully, this will indeed turn out to be as promised.