Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau—
Government yesterday cleared the air over school fees payment using livestock, saying no parent will take their animals to school. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora sent our Bulawayo Bureau a video in which he was explaining that parents could sell livestock to raise school fees. He said his statement on payments was widely misinterpreted to mean parents would have to drag goats and other livestock to schools as payment for fees.
The deliberate misinterpretations were accompanied by various social media rants and allegations of a new currency, a “goat currency” purportedly introduced by Dr Dokora.
In one of the messages circulating on social media, parents were told that certain teachers were not available for consultation as they were herding goats. Dr Dokora said no school was a market for goats or any other live- stock.
“There are lot of children whose parents had to sell livestock to take them through school,” he said. “So, the parents would sell their cattle, goats and then take the cash to school and that is what we are saying.
“They must create markets and arrange with local authorities to sell those goats or cattle. Our schools are not the markets, but local authorities can organise for such provisions.”
To those criticising the concept, Dr Dokora said they had no better alternatives.
Dr Dokora last week told our sister paper The Sunday Mail that parents who could not raise tuition fees for children could offer livestock in lieu of payment or do chores for learning in- stitutions.
“Our schools have to be flexible and ensure those who do not have money to pay fees can work,” he said. “For example, if there is a builder in the community, he/she must be given that opportunity to work as a form of payment for tuition fees.
“On the issue of livestock, the community has to arrange a market where everyone participates; from the school authorities, local leadership and parents themselves to avoid parents being duped.”