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Education Bill back in Parliament
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
February 28, 2006

The Education Amendment Bill which has ignited heated debate in Parliament has been brought back before the House of Assembly to scrutinise amendments made by Senate.

The Lower House will today deliberate on the Bill to consider whether or not it is in concordance with amendments made by Senate.

The Bill seeks to provide for the charging of fees and levies in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Speaker of the House of Assembly Cde John Nkomo had to recall the House to resume sitting today instead of March 28 as initially scheduled to enable MPs to deliberate on the Bill.

Both the Senate and the House of Assembly passed the Bill with amendments. The Bill has roused heated debate both in Parliament and outside the two Houses.

The adopted Bill was a new consolidated text that replaces the original Bill that was withdrawn by the Lower House following an adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the grounds that some of the contents of the draft were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

Clerk of Parliament Mr Austin Zvoma yesterday said it was procedural that when a bill has been passed by the Upper House with amendments, the Lower House has to reconsider it.

It is procedural that the Bill be referred to the House of Assembly to find whether or not it agrees with the amendments made," he said.

Mr Zvoma said apart from the Bill, legislators would also attend to other business of the House that included motions.

Some of the amendments adopted by the Senate included those to Clause 5 providing guidelines for the increase of fees or levies in non-government schools.

Under the provisions, the Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture shall approve any increase of fees or levies if the increase is sought in respect of the next term of the non-government school concerned provided:

  • it does not exceed the percentage increase in the cost of living from beginning of the proceeding term as indicated by the CPI and CSO;
  • the fees or levies for the day pupils who are provided with meals at the school are not more than 40 percent of the fees or levies paid by boarders; and
  • the fees or levies for the day pupils who are not provided with meals at the school are not more than 30 percent of the fees or levies paid by the boarders.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Act provides that if there is a disagreement between the Upper and Lower Houses on amendments to be made to a Bill which originated from either House, the Bill might be presented to the President for assent in the form in which it was passed by the House of Assembly, except for minor changes required by the passage of time.

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