Schools warned against forced uniform sales

THE Government will invoke Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 against any school which forces parents and guardians to buy   uniforms exclusively from the schools.

Although the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has authorised schools to make and sell uniforms, it has made it clear that they should not put pressure on parents to buy uniforms exclusively from them if there are more affordable options available.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerayi Moyo said stiff penalties awaited those schools that continued to be defiant.

Back to School . . . Parents buy school uniforms at a shop in Harare yesterday. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerayi Moyo made a clarion call that schools should give parents an option to buy uniforms from suppliers of their choice. – Picture: Tinashe Chitwanga.

“It is illegal for any school to demand students and parents to purchase school uniforms at those respective schools. The correct position is that parents and students are allowed to buy the correct uniform from any store of their choice and there is no law that compels them to buy uniforms at schools that they would have enrolled in.

“Parents who have been forced to buy uniforms from the school can report to any district or provincial offices or even at our head office, then we can take some stern measures to deal with those defiant schools. We have Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 which criminalises the demand for parents to buy uniforms from a particular school. If parents are forced to, it is a violation of the law and a violation of the circulars that we have in place. So we are going to invoke SI1 of 2000,” he said.

The Minister also cleared the air on the correct dates for opening of schools for the first term of 2024.

He said schools would open on January 9, 2024 with Form One learners expected to travel to their respective boarding schools on January 7 for orientation.

“We have observed that there has been confusion surrounding the date when schools are opening. People have said schools are opening on January 2, 2024 but the correct position is that schools are opening on January 9. It gives parents adequate time to prepare for schools opening. We want to encourage those Form One students who have enrolled in boarding schools that they are likely to go to their schools on Sunday January 7 so that they have time to go through orientation and induction at their respective schools,” he added.

Minister Moyo also advised schools to desist from demanding that parents pay fees exclusively in United States dollars.

He said Government is still using a multi-currency regime, hence parents should be free to pay in any currency of their choice.

“We have schools that demand that only US dollars should be used for payment of fees but we have a multi-currency regime that is in operation in this country, so we would expect schools to accept any form of payment that is brought by the parents or guardians towards payment of levies and school fees. Government policy is very clear, where parents are paying in local currency they resort to the official rate guided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” said the minister.

Minister Moyo also said the review process of the education curriculum had been completed and the results will be shared with the public once it passed through Cabinet next year.

The results are expected to determine if the Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (CALA) will be modified or completely removed from the education curriculum.

Herald

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