Vusindlu Maphosa, Sunday News Correspondent
AN estimated 300 school children from the San community in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North need school fees assistance.
The San community in Tsholotsho is mostly found at Sanqinyana, Gariya and Dlamini villages. In an interview, a San community member Mr Malaki Tshuma said the local community was struggling to send children to school.
“I have children who go to both secondary and primary schools but paying fees for them is a struggle. I have no means of making money since I am not formally employed,” he said.
Mr Tshuma said a local school, Mpilo Primary School has 65 children who have been identified as having parents and guardians who cannot afford to pay their fees. Another San community member Mr Christopher Dube added; “There are so many children who are failing to go to school due to failure by their parents to raise school fees, and at the moment, most of them are not getting any help from anywhere.”
He appealed to well-wishers to come to the San community’s rescue. The director of Tsoro-o-otso San Development Trust, an organisation lobbying for the rights of the San community, Mr Davy Ndlovu, of Dlamini village, said there were over 300 children who need assistance in paying fees, according to the organisation’s snap survey.
“There are so many children who are failing to pay school fees even counting them is not worth it because all the San parents are failing to pay. There are over 300 children who need to be assisted with school fees. Even at John Landa Secondary school, they are not paying, and if we do not have anything to help them, it becomes worse. But we agreed with John Landa Nkomo Secondary that if we manage to get mealie-meal, we assist them with that,” Mr Ndlovu said.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro said parents should work with schools to have children who cannot afford to pay school fees to apply for Government assistance through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).
“The programme is coordinated by the Department of Social Services of the Ministry of Labour and Social Services,” said Mr Ndoro.