Maputo — The Mozambican Ministry of Education on Monday threatened to hold criminally responsible any public school principal who prevents children from going to class because their parents have not yet paid the additional fees that some schools charge for pay the security guards.
Addressing a press conference in Maputo, ministry spokesperson Gina Guibunda said there was nothing illegal about schools collecting money from parents to pay fees. security agents. But these payments are completely voluntary and should in no way prevent children from attending classes.
“We would like to make it clear that this attitude is totally reprehensible and was not ordered by the ministry,” Guibunda said. “This is why we want to reaffirm that any school head who prevents children from going to class for lack of payment will be punished for breaking the law”, .
The issue of parents’ financial support to schools, Guibunda added, has been enshrined in law since a 2004 ministerial diploma. The amount collected from parents must be used to improve school conditions and parents cannot be forced to pay it. .
She said schools are only expected to start collecting the voluntary fees from March, after school councils, which are liaison bodies between school principals and parents to deal with issues of common interest, have been renewed or introduced.
Guibunda also admitted to the recently reported corruption scandal at the Education Department in the southern province of Inhambane, where episodes such as selling fake certificates, rigging exam scores and charging up to 50 000 meticais (about 780 US dollars, at the current exchange rate) for entrance to the Institute of Teacher Training (IFP) is commonplace.
The spokesman told reporters that investigations were underway to find out the truth, but the department is aware of the fraud and once the investigation is complete, those involved will be dealt with accordingly.