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February 10, 2006
Amendment Bill sails through House
THE House of
Assembly has adopted a motion seeking to withdraw the Education
Amendment Bill, which sought to give additional powers to the
Minister of Education, Sport and Culture in fixing school fees and
levies, and replace it with a new consolidated text.
The motion was moved by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday following an adverse
report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) on some provisions
of the original Bill which the committee described as "unconstitutional".
In moving the motion, Cde Chinamasa said the consolidated Bill should
be treated as having been presented and referred to the PLC.
The new Bill makes it mandatory for every school authority to first
apply to the Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture for approval
before charging any fee or levy.
The secretary is, in turn, obliged to approve the increase applied
for where such increase does not exceed the percentage increase
in the cost of living from the beginning to the end of the preceding
term as indicated by the Consumer Price Index published by the Central
School authorities should get approval of a majority of the parents
at a meeting of the School Parents Assembly attended by not less
than 20 percent of the parents.
Any responsible authority aggrieved by a decision of the secretary
may appeal to the minister.
The minister may, after due consideration, grant or refuse the appeal
before fixing the appropriate levy or fee.
Those aggrieved by the decision of the minister may appeal to the
Clause 10 proposes to give the minister power to prescribe the minimum
qualifications of all teachers employed by all schools, a provision
necessitated by the fact that some private schools were employing
teachers who were good at sport but lacked the necessary teaching
The minister is also empowered to govern the conduct and behaviour
of all teachers including those who fall outside the public service.
Clause 12 seeks to provide for the teaching of Zimbabwe’s three
main languages — Shona, English and Ndebele — in all schools up
to Form Two, on an equal-time basis.
In addition, there is a new provision which proposes the recognition
of more than one association of teachers following the birth of
several new associations whose existence deserved to be acknowledged.
Clause 14 seeks to amend Section 69 of the principal Act by giving
the minister power to make regulations on the wearing of school
Education, Sport and Culture Minister Cde Aeanes Chigwedere has
attributed the massive increase in fees and levies by some schools
to rising inflation.
"On the fee increases, our problem is on inflation as my ministry
has no authority to do something about (controlling) inflation,"
he told the House of Assembly.
Cde Chigwedere was responding to a question by Lupane MP Mr Njabuliso
Mguni (MDC) on why some schools had increased fees to as much as
$20 million a term.
He said the Government was playing its part to ensure that education
remained affordable and if there was a shortfall, parents had to
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