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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

St Faith High School conflict, government summons school authorities

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

GOVERNMENT has summoned school authorities at St Faith High School in Makoni after students raised their grievances with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education this Wednesday.

Barely two weeks after violence erupted at St Faith High School in Makoni district over the introduction of a US$600 mission fee, conflict continued this Wednesday when students walked some 13km to Rusape to raise their complaints with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

“We are protesting against the dissolution of the SDC and the termination of services of our School Head and his deputy. Who will run this school if our head is chased away from this school The SDC and the Head have not done anything wrong as far as we are concerned,” said a student.

“For the past six years, there has been no infrastructural development at this school yet they take levy and mission fee. We are over-crowded here and there are no supporting facilities,” said another student.

Anglican Diocese of Manicaland Spokesperson and Registrar, Mr Ashel Mutungura acknowledged that there are challenges at the school due to huge enrolment but laid the blame on the School Development Committee (SDC) and the suspended school head, Mr Anold Makamba.

“We recommended to the ministry to transfer the headmaster as the relationship is no longer workable. The relationship with the SDC is also not tenable. They don’t know their mandate hence the decision to dissolve it. As I talk to you, there are no sufficient toilets for the kids and no adequate classrooms for the students. There is pressure on the facilities including dormitories. The SDC should know its role of complimenting the responsible authority. They have been convincing people to demonstrate. The headmaster enrolled many students with classes increasing to 70 students.”

Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba revealed that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has since summoned the school authorities including the SDC and School head to a meeting in Harare this Thursday.

“I can confirm that there has been a demonstration by pupils at St Faith High School. Reports have reached our office on a matter of the US$600 mission fee with those who paid the fee while in form one protest of paying again after being enrolled at A level.

“We have also received complaints that they had dismissed the head without the authority of the ministry, and we believe that this was illegal as we are in a tripartite agreement between the Public Service Commission, the Ministry of Education and the church hence they should have not made such a unilateral decision. The SDC Committee was also dismissed when only the secretary of the ministry has the power to dissolve the SDC. Given these decisions, the students went to demonstrate.”

As the government intervenes, parents hope the past disturbances will not affect their children’s education going forward.

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