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Education Amendment Bill sails through
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
February 17, 2006

http://www.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=617&cat=1&livedate=2/17/2006

The Education Amendment Bill that seeks to provide for the charging of school fees and levies based on the Consumer Price Index as published by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) has sailed through the House of Assembly with major amendments.

The Bill was passed on Wednesday and now awaits transmission to Senate for further scrutiny.

One of the major amendments related to the reduction of the penalty for unilaterally increasing school fees or levies from 12 months imprisonment to six months or a fine equivalent to the excess amount charged or both. Some of the adopted amendments were moved by Bulawayo North-East MP Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC) who is also the chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC). These included amendments to clause 5 to the effect that the provisions of the Bill shall not apply to fees and levies existing on the day the proposed law comes into effect.

The adopted Bill has a new consolidated text that replaces the original Bill that was withdrawn by the House following an adverse report by the PLC on the grounds that some of the contents of the draft were unconstitutional.

Under the new consolidated Bill, every school authority should apply to the Secretary of Education, Sport and Culture for approval before charging fees or levies.

The secretary is in turn, obliged to approve the increase where such an 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 CPI published by the CSO.

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 who after due consideration may grant or refuse the appeal before fixing the appropriate fee or levy.

On Wednesday we erroneously published that the Bill had sailed through. The inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted.

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