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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Legislators fault private school owners for charging high fees

22nd July 2011

Members of Parliament yesterday criticized private schools for charging excessive fees, calling on the government to intervene in the matter.

Contributing to the budget estimates of the ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the legislators urged the government to direct owners of private schools to reduce school fees.

They said what was being done by the owners of private schools was theft and harassment to their fellow Tanzanians.

They said fees which were being charged in private secondary and primary schools were higher than university tuition fees.

Mufindi South lawmaker Mendrad Kigola (CCM) wondered why the government was silent on the matter, leaving Tanzanians to bear the financial brunt.

“How come a parent pays 2m/- per annum when the government could control the situation,” he said. He said such exorbitant schools fees were meant for well-to-do people.

“They are creating classes in the society,” he said.

For her part, Special Seats legislator Christina Mughwai (Chadema) urged the government to use its powers to control school fees being charged in the country instead of leaving their settings solely to the operators and owners, whose aim was to make profits.

“Their aim is to get a profit, though they also provide services to Tanzanians. These people even sell joining forms at the rate of between 15,000/- to 20,000/-. This is a total burden to parents,” she said.

The legislator also questioned the logic behind giving the owners freedom to direct parents to contribute to the construction of their schools, classes and dormitories while they are investors who were supposed to take care of everything and charge the parents fees only.

“How come parents are told to contribute to the construction of schools to the tune of between 300,000/- and 400,000/- for building the dormitories of a private investor’s school? This is not right at all,” said Mughwai.

In his contribution to the budget estimates, Kibakwe MP George Simbachawene asked the criteria used by the government to examine students studying in ward secondary school while they do not have a conducive environment to study.

He said the government was supposed to differentiate between students in ward secondary schools and those schooling in other well-to-do schools.

"It is not fair to compare a student schooling at Kibakwe ward secondary school, which has only two teachers, and one studying at Tambaza Secondary School,” he noted.

Special Seats MP Betty Machangu (CCM) called on the government to reintroduce Form Two national exams to help assess the understanding capabilities of the students.

She said scrapping of the examination had contributed to poor performance of students, forcing them to reseat their exams.

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