The National Action Quality Education (NAQEZ) has warned that private schools which exploit parents by charging exorbitant fees in the name of providing quality education risk being closed. NAQEZ deputy director of research Webby Kamangala said private schools should provide education as a service and not as a business.
Mr Kamangala said the rate at which some private schools are charging school fees denies quality education to some people who cannot afford it.
“We want to caution private schools that are overcharging school fees in the name of providing quality education to desist from such acts because they discourage access to quality education,” he said.
Mr Kamangala said owners of private schools should not make quality education unattainable because of their business interests. He said NAQEZ will ensure that private schools that are charging exorbitant prices find it difficult to operate freely. Mr Kamangala was speaking when he featured on a special current affairs programme on Radio Phoenix on Thursday.
Mr Kamangala said his organisation will enhance sensitisation in order to expose private schools that are exploiting parents. “Quality education should be attainable to everyone. It should not be seen as a rare commodity. Let private schools offer quality education as a service and not something that should be difficult to access,” he said.
Mr Kamangala urged private schools that have been providing quality education without exploiting people to continue doing so. He said private schools should endeavour to supplement Government’s efforts to provide quality education for meaningful development to be attained. Mr Kamangala said NAQEZ will continue with routine inspections of schools to ensure that private schools do not exploit people.
“It is not easy for Government to regulate the operations of private schools because Government has a lot of issues to handle on its table. We have seen the gap and we want to ensure that we fill it,” he said. Some parents are concerned about rising school fees making it difficult for children to complete their education, reports ALICK CHITOBEKA in Lusaka Paul Panga, a father of two Grade 10 pupils at Northmead Secondary School, said in an interview that it will not be easy for him to raise the required K1,500 and K580 for each child to start school.
“It is increasingly stressful for me each day that passes because of this issue of school fees. I do not want my children to stop school. That is why I have brought my two children to Northmead Secondary School,” he said. He said sending children to school has become expensive because of the many demands school authorities make before allowing the children to attend class.
Mr Panga said demands for reams of papers, floor polishing wax and toilet paper by some school authorities have made education expensive.
Mr Panga, a driver, said the K1,400 monthly salary he earns is not adequate to meet school requirements and other expenses such as rentals and food.
“The Ministry of General Education should lower user fees to K400 so that every parent could manage to send their children to school and contribute to national development,” Mr Panga said.