A BULAWAYO rights activist has launched a solo campaign to discourage discrimination in schools and turning away of pupils from poor backgrounds who cannot afford the prescribed winter uniforms.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The majority of primary and secondary schools have a strict winter uniform policy, but it is normal to see some pupils, particularly from the high-density suburbs, wearing winter clothing to shield themselves from the cold.
Some resort to wearing tracksuits, but a survey reveals schools are now taking a tough approach by forcing the underprivileged pupils to wear summer uniforms, subjecting them to the cold weather.
The development has seen activist Khumbulani Maphosa engaging in a lone battle with schools after “receiving complaints from parents and guardians of children without winter uniforms being forced to remove school tracksuits and be subjected to cold”.
Maphosa said school heads argue that allowing the situation to prevail “destroys uniformity and makes the school clumsy”.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe says in all matters relating to the children, the interests of the children shall be paramount.
In enforcing their uniform policies schools should put the interests of the children first and should consider the individual cases of children instead of a blanket enforcement strategy,” Maphosa said after visiting one primary school in Emakhandeni high-density suburb.
“However, we urge parents to be responsible and consider the rights of their children by abiding by school policies and regulations.
It is the responsibility of individual parents/guardians to approach the school and make individual arrangements – rights always go with responsibilities.”
Maphosa recently staged a protest at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to register displeasure against city fathers’ for failure to push for council clinics to open 24 hours a day.