CS Magoha’s abrupt move to reopen schools might seem like a bold “Matiang’i” like move to many, but in reality it’s a desperate move revealing somebody under pressure to show he has things under control. The announcement was done in a manner that portrayed a ministry that’s lacking confidence in its own decision or lacks a unanimous decision on whether to proceed with its plans or not. As the reality dawns on students that they will actually be going back to school on Monday, the challenges have now started being much more evident than before.
The question of whether parents are prepared to pay school fees might seem like a mere online joke being fueled by the DCIs on KOT but in reality most parents are in a dire situation. Owing to the grave economic effects of the pandemic, parents have lost jobs, businesses have closed down and savings have been guzzled to cushion families from the effects of the pandemic. With an economy that’s also facing a recession, to assume that all if not a majority of parents are prepared to pay school fees for their kids heading into the new term is a misguided thinking.
The ministry has also failed terribly in putting this particular issue into consideration looking at the manner by which the schools have been reopened. Just less than a week ago, the president reassured parents that schools would only be opened once the ministry had assured the safety of students and that most of the related costs like purchasing of masks had been covered by the government. Fast forward 7 days later, the same government through the ministry of education issues a less than a week notice to parents and students that schools will be opening the following week. How does the ministry really expect parents to come up with the necessary funds to pay the school fees, do the shopping, transport, pocket money e.t.c. within such a short period of time and within this current economic environment?
READ MORE: BACK TO SCHOOL – MAGOHA DECLARES!
It even gets worse when you realize that the same ministry is being led by scholars who should be making really informed decisions. The blame will shift to principals for demanding that students pay their fees before rejoining the new term, but in reality the blame should be put on the ministry. It is understandable for principals to put in such demands, especially boarding schools where a day in school means the school has to spend money to feed and keep the students in school. Yet the government hasn’t disbursed funds to the schools. It pains to see the level of unpreparedness within our education sector yet the ministry had more than half a year during the pandemic to sort this out!
WHAT IF THE GOVERNMENT PAID THE TERM 2 SCHOOL FEES FOR ALL STUDENTS? This would cushion parents and ensure that all students are back in school! However, the government has simply decided to shift all the costs to the parents. Surely, even masks??! The government can’t even buy masks for our students?!
The ministry of education has failed our students!