Uproar as schools demand fees for MSCE retake

Some private secondary schools are demanding tuition fees from form four students who are going to re-sit for this year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), YFM has established.

This is despite a directive by Ministry of Education Principal Secretary Chikondano Mussa last month that both public and private secondary schools should not demand payment of tuition and examination fees as examinations will be administered within one month from the day students report for classes on December 28, 2020.

The ministry also said both examination fees and costs for practical examinations will be shouldered by the government as such no school shall demand fees for the same.

However, YFM has established that Kabadwa Private Secondary School in Zomba and Grema as well as Kawira private secondary schools in Liwonde are demanding K37,000, K50,000 and K36,000 respectively as 20% of tuition fees.

One of the guardians who sought anonymity expressed concern saying they are being forced to pay for tuition fees, a move which has negatively affected them.

“I still do not understand why these schools are charging us yet government said we won’t pay a penny,” the guardian said.

When asked for comment, Kabadwa Private Secondary School director refuted the reports saying the school only delayed in communicating to the parents and guardians not to pay fees.

YFM could tried to seek comments from Grema and Kawira private schools as its directors did not pick up the phone.

But speaking to YFM, Independent Schools Association of Malawi (ISAMA) president Joseph Patel said it is the responsibility of government to ensure that private secondary schools do not demand for tuition fees from form four students who resumed classes on Tuesday.

“As ISAMA we communicated to our member, right now I can only urge parents who have encountered that to report to ministry responsible,” Patel said.

Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said the ministry is not aware of the issue but was quick to point out that the ministry is currently monitoring the situation.

Chimala said; “We have not gotten such reports but we will take action once we find anything.”

Dr Steve Shara, a Catholic University based education expert, said the ministry should take action against such schools since it said it will shoulder all financial costs.

This year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations were cancelled in November due to massive leakage of examination papers. Students are expected to rewrite the examinations in January next year.

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