LOBAMBA:Marwick Khumalo, the Lobamba Lomdzala Member of Parliament(MP)successfully moved a motion on Monday directing Education Minister Lady Howard-Mabuza to ensure that no student in secondary and high schools is expelled,temporarily or permanently, for owing fees.
The motion of vital public interest was seconded by Manzini South MP Thandi Nxumalo, it received huge support from other MPs and was subsequently passed by the House of Assembly.
Labour Minister Phila Buthelezi, the Matsanjeni North Member of Parliament(MP) was the only MP who tried to oppose the motion saying Government had no money, however, he was overruled when Education Minister Lady Howard Mabuza acknowledged the financial challenges faced by parents and promised to work on the matter.
When motivating the motion, MP Khumalo said citizens were facing financial challenges after the COVID-19 crisis, hence Government must finance secondary and high schools.
“Mr Speaker, the whole country is facing financial challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic,many people lost their jobs and children were expelled from schools for owing school fees. We must understand that the COVID-19 pandemic was never the children’s problem but now they are suffering. No MP here can dispute that children are now approaching us,asking for school fees and uniform, this is a national problem Mr Speaker, it’s a crisis. We would be making a mistake if we can allow teachers to expel these children and deprive them their right to education based on the financial challenges in this country created by the COVID-19. It is for this reason as Parliament, we are saying, Government must stop the expulsion of children owing school fees including exam fees. Government must then find ways to pay the money owed by children because the money is needed in the various schools for operational purposes,”he said.
The Lobamba Lomdzala MP said even though the country had other priorities that needed money, investing in education by paying the school fees for all the owing children in the country should be prioritized.
Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo.