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    Saturday, 10 September 2016

    Chilonga parents refuse to pay fees to protest school takeover


    I – Parents with children attending school at Chilonga Secondary have refused to pay fees as a way of protesting its controversial takeover by Free Methodist Church.
    Headman Chilonga said he suspects fraud in the takeover of the school and he went on to say that minutes of meetings clearly indicate that parents were against the take-over.
    Headman Chilonga said the Free Methodist Church can be provided with land to build its own school if it is interested in such a project.
    He said the community insists that it can run its school on its own as it is the same community that built the school from scratch.
    Chiredzi District Education Officer Otillia Njitimani however, said the takeover process was done above board as the whole community was consulted by the Church. She said it was too late to protest because the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry has already signed for the takeover.
    She added that the problem could be emanating from the change of councilors that happened in the area with the old councilor having supported the takeover and the new councilor understood to be against the move.
    "There is a process which should be followed if a new authority wants to take over a school. Chilonga was a council school so the church went through council and the then councilor raised a motion for the takeover and it was passed.
    "As a Ministry we come in only if council agreed and this is what happened. The papers took time to be processed and there was no objection until the permanent secretary approved it. It is difficult to reverse what the Ministry has approved," said Njitimani.
    The SDC chairman at the school, Kenias Chauke said 95% of the parents did not pay fees last term to protest against the takeover of the school which they build from their own resources. He alleged that the school committee knew nothing about the takeover as they only saw papers but no consultations were made.
    He said the church has already brought its own headmaster but there is no assistance that has come from it.
    Chiredzi RDC chief executive officer, Isaac Matsilele said council advised the community way back in 2012 to make informed decisions with their school but there was a group of people who pressed for the takeover and the Church came to full council meetings to present their five-year plan.
    It is understood that the school boasts of good classroom blocks, administration offices, library, electricity, internet connection and DSTV which was paid for by parents.
     "We do not agree with what happened at Chilonga School. As a community we sat down and agreed that no-one should take over our school and minutes of that meeting are available.
    "There are some unscrupulous people who have an interest in the matter who are going behind our backs and this was done in a fraudulent manner and if we bring in the Police some people will be arrested," said Headman Chilonga.education news
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