Swaziland News Logo
Read Article Page Top

COVID-19: Private schools must stop demanding fees from parents.

Friday, 5th February, 2021

Private schools are ripping-off Swazis, demanding school fees from parents for services that were never rendered as children are not attending classes in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Well, it is worth mentioning that most of these private schools are owned by foreigners and some of them established connections with senior officials within the Ministry of Education through indirect shareholdings so they can gain favors from government.

Now, their conduct amounts to fraud in that they demand schools fees from parents for services that were never rendered, why force a parent to pay fees for a child that is not at school?. It is of paramount importance to state that most Swazis are now struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and they can no longer afford the huge monies demanded by the private schools without rendering educational services to the kids, this fraudulent act must be addressed by the government as a matter of urgency to protect the vulnerable citizens.

It is the wish of every parent for their children to receive quality education, parents spent huge monies by sending their children to these schools so they can receive quality education, now in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the  services they paid for are no longer provided hence there’s is absolutely no justification whatsoever for these schools to demand further payment.

Perhaps, it is important to remind authorities of these schools and the Ministry of Education that when parents sent their children to these private schools, they were not paying for online lessons, you cannot automatically demand payment for online lessons without engaging the parents and presenting the quality and reliability of these new methods of learning. 

It has become a norm for government to neglect the people and allow them to be defrauded with impunity instead of protecting them. A private school is a business and in business there’s a profit and a loss, owners of these schools must accept that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic their profits will decline.

As the situation stands, these private schools must strategise their online lessons, advertise, convince and capacitate their customers on  how this lessons work, those who are interested would then voluntarily tap into this new method of learning.  It is absolutely wrong and unfair for parents, some who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be ripped-off by private schools authorities who demand full payment without rendering services. It\'s fraud on the grounds that parents were never told about online lessons before the COVID-19 crisis, you cannot therefore summersault and demand payment from customers for a method of learning that they never endorsed and or accepted by the client. 

In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that online lessons are the future even in first world countries but we expect private schools to engage with parents  on how it works before demanding payment. As mentioned, it’s unfair to the parent  to pay a full amount for services that were never rendered as schools were closed last year and subsequently be forced to endorse online learning where the very same parent is required to teach the child at home.

In light of the aforementioned, the justification by Bertram Stewart that teachers employed by these private schools will lose their jobs if parents stop paying schools fees is not fair to the parents, Cabinet must address this as a matter of urgency and stop private schools from defrauding vulnerable citizens.

COVID-19: Private schools must stop demanding fees from parents.
Children at Annadale private school