FOLLOWING complaints from parents and guardians on fees to be paid to private schools after the closure of schools due to the coronavirus outbreak, the government has issued fresh directives on the subject.
According to instructions issued yesterday by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, private school boards and committees should make evaluation of some costs which can be reduced to compensate the days when students were not in schools.
All schools in Tanzania are set to reopen next week on June 29 after a considerable decline in Covid-19 cases in the country, but parents and guardians have raised concerns over school fees to be paid after the students remained home for more than three months.
Head of the Government Communication Unit in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ms Sylvia Lupembe, said that private school boards/committees should make consideration of some services such as transport and food and see how the cost could be reduced, basing on the new school calendar which is set to commence on June 29 through December 18.
The ministry stressed that all students should be allowed to proceed with studies unconditionally after school reopening on June 29 so that they can complete the academic schedule which was obstructed by the Covid-19 outbreaks.
She said that school fees should be paid basing on the structure agreed during the commencement of the academic year.
“The ministry is stressing on the schools to abide by the directives issued earlier that there should be no additional fees,” she said.
But she, however, said that parents should also note that fees structure is set by considering various operational costs, which the schools incurred even when the students were not in school such as salaries, water and electricity bills.
She further said that according to the Education Act chapter 343 (RE 2002), school operations are overseen by school boards/ committees which have been formulated by the law.
“Therefore school owners are directed to abide by the law by allowing the school boards and committees to execute their responsibilities as per law,” she said.
Announcing the new school calendar last week, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Joyce Ndalichako, urged school boards, owners and parents to be guided by wisdom in handling the matter.
“There must be understanding between all interested parties, which should be fair and amicable, as we are all aware of the coronavirus and the impact it has created,” said the minister.
She unveiled the national examination schedule indicating that Standard Seven and Form Two will write their exams between October 7 and 8 and from November 9 to 20 respectively.
Form Four and Standard Four, according to the minister, will sit for the exams between November 23 and December 11 and on November 25 and 26, respectively.
Prof Ndalichako told the media that there are no cases of Covid-19 among Form Six students and those in higher learning institutions, who resumed classes on June 1, 2020 as per report of June, 16.
The minister said there will be no mid-term break and relevant authorities have been directed to extend learning for two more hours to fill the gap caused by inadvertent schools’ closure.
“Schools should add two hours daily in their timetable to compensate the time students spent at home so that they could be able to cover all the syllabi within time….this does not include the nursery levels” she said.
The minister noted that Form Five students will have a tight schedule whereby they will report on June 29 but will sit for their term examination on 24th July and three days later they are expected to begin form six classes.