Questions Arise As MEC Proposes Non Fee Paying Schools for Chatsworth and Phoenix

01 July 2013    


The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal is concerned by recent comments made by MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu that schools in Chatsworth and Phoenix could be made non-fee paying schools. This has created a huge problem for school principals and School Governing Boards whilst at the same time raising many pertinent questions.


I have been raising concerns around the unfair manner in which the quintile ranking system was discriminating against schools that are accommodating learners from the most disadvantaged sectors of our community. When I raised these concerns with the previous MEC Ina Cronje as far back as April 2005 she said that 'the department was reviewing its policy'  --  that was over eight years ago. Now MEC Mchunu makes a statement around this issue, but as welcome as it is, he does not say when this 'non-fee paying' policy for schools in Chatsworth and Phoenix will be implemented, said Honourable Les Govender, Member of the Education Portfolio Committee.


It has come to the IFPs attention that some parents are of the opinion that they will not have to pay fees as of next year, whilst others feel that they should not pay for the remainder of this academic year. The IFP notes that this is a serious concern for schools that are presently experiencing challenges in collecting fees, with many having a recovery rate of below 30%.


Just two weeks ago we passed the R37billion budget for the Department of Education in KZN and nowhere in that budget is there a Norms and Standards allocation that will cater for these additional 'non-fee paying' schools.


Schools that are ranked Quintile 1, 2 and 3 (disadvantaged, non-fee paying) receive R932 per learner per year while Quintile 5 schools (advantaged, fee paying) receive R175 per learner per year. If schools in areas such as Chatsworth and Phoenix, which are largely Quintile 5 become non-fee paying, I find it difficult to understand where the additional funding will come from, said Hon. Govender.


Due to low school fee recovery, schools in areas like Chatsworth and Phoenix are finding it extremely difficult to meet basic operational expenses such as light and water bills, security and cleaning services, etc. The KZN Education Department should have made provisions in its 2013/14 budget to assist these schools.


The IFP wants to know, will MEC Mchunu find the funding to make good on his statement or was his statement just another attempt at vote-catching prior to 2014?


CONTACT: HON. P GOVENDER - 083 992 1866*