Hanse-Himarwa warns schools not to solicit money from parents

13 Jan 2016 19:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JAN (NAMPA) - Schools should refrain from asking parents for “voluntary contributions” towards their children’s education.
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said this on Wednesday, and singled out the Hochland High School and Concordia College in Windhoek.
“I have first-hand information on how these schools have come up with creative and innovative ways to get money from parents, lobbying for fees to be paid by the parents. Hochland High, where I have registered two of my children, has been insisting on N.dollars 500 to be paid as voluntary contribution,” she said.
The minister added that “voluntary contributions” should not be imposed on parents, but should be done at parents’ free will to give through whichever means.
“No parent should be forced to pay any fee unless they want to pledge to the school, and these schools will be dealt with accordingly. They are contradicting the free education policy, and they refuse placement if these monies are not paid; they should refrain from that soonest,” an irate Hanse-Himarwa said.
She said Government is not against parental involvement in schools, instead it urges parents to take “ownership” of schools.
“Education is everybody’s business, and free education does not mean that everything should be up to Government to provide. Government cannot provide for all the needs, but parents should contribute in a natural way and not be compelled to do so; there should be no written rules or abuse and exploitation,” she said.
Hanse-Himarwa further said Concordia College had issued letters to parents asking them to “voluntary” contribute N.dollars 600 for “computer and transport maintenance”.
In response, Concordia College Head of Department (HoD) Joseph Masule said they are acting upon a clause in the free education circular that propels schools to “solicit” funds from parents through “voluntary contributions”.
“It is not necessarily monetary contributions, because some parents are plumbers, some are carpenters and they can offer their services to the school, because the government grant does not cater for everything that we do in the school and there are programmes that are not listed on the grants that cannot be abolished now.
“We want to maintain the quality of education at our school, so we need those small voluntary contributions,” said Masule.
He added that the school will not deny placement to a prospective student or applicant if they cannot contribute.
“It is illegal, we cannot do that. If someone cannot afford they simply cannot. In fact, it is the parents who proposed to contribute N.dollars 600 dollars,” said the HoD.