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School demands livestock from parents in school fees arrears

by Staff Reporter
06 Feb 2013 at 21:31hrs | 3094 Views
SOME debt collectors engaged by a school in Gokwe South to recover money that it is owed by parents in school fees arrears are allegedly demanding livestock as payment.

Sources said the school - Managwa Primary School - and the parents were now headed for a clash with the latter having openly expressed their disapproval of the move.

The parents said the school's move contradicted the agreement they entered into regarding the payment of outstanding fees. They said they had agreed that outstanding balances were to be cleared after the parents harvested their crops.

"We agreed with the school head that we will settle our debts with the school after harvesting our crops this year. We are surprised that he is sending debt collectors now. The headmaster never informed us of the changes in the payment arrangements. This is unfair," said one of the affected parents, Mrs Tendai Nyoni.

Another villager, Mr Samson Dzimba, said the debt collectors had collected a               number of beasts from parents who owed the school.

"Some parents lost cattle to the debt collectors while from other households they were demanding goats and chickens. This cannot be allowed to continue because this is daylight robbery. We have since appealed to Chief Nemangwe to intervene," said Mr Dzimba.

Chief Nemangwe confirmed the operations of the debt collectors in his area when contacted for a comment yesterday.

He said some parents were, however, now using violent means to protect their beasts.

"I am informed that the school is demanding a beast from the parents for outstanding fees. It is alleged that a beast is compensating even a balance of only $100. So far I have received eight complaints from  parents who lost their cattle to these debt collectors. This is actually a breach of the agreement between the school and the parents," said Chief Nemangwe.

He said he spoke to the school head about the issue and asked him to immediately stop the debt collectors from harassing parents.

The engagement of the school head, however, did not change anything, as the debt collectors continued with their operations undeterred, said Chief Nemangwe.

"Yesterday (Tuesday) I heard that some parents assaulted some of the debt collectors. I also heard that villagers made a commitment to work together in repelling the debt collectors using violence, if possible. We cannot tell the villagers to allow the debt collectors to take their property. It would be unfair to the villagers. What we have done, however, was to urge them not to use violence when dealing with these debt collectors," he said.

Provincial Education Director for Midlands, Mrs Agnes Gudo, said her office was yet to receive a report on the issue.

She, however, said it was abnormal for a school head to deal with parents in such a manner.

"I cannot comment much on this issue as I am yet to get the information on the ground. However, it is not usual for school heads to do such things. Usually, it is the School Development Committee that handles such issues," said Mrs Gudo.

Source - School
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