22.5k students face uncertain future after 44 more schools suspended

YEUKAI TAZIRA

Statistics availed by the Ministry for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province revealed that the axe has been wielded on an additional 48 schools and colleges that are alleged to have been operating illegally apart from the initial 400 that have already been blacklisted.

This means that the fate of at least 23,000 students who were enrolled at illegal schools and colleges in Harare remains shrouded under a cloud of uncertainty following the indefinite closure of 320 unregistered institutions by government recently.

In a statement released publicly, the aforementioned ministry said:

“The office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Local Authorities launched a blitz across the province to expose schools and colleges operating without Government licenses, ZIMRA registration and local authority permits.

“Whilst the initial list comprised of 400 illegal schools and colleges, the blitz managed to identify 448 schools and colleges that did not comply with any government or local authority requirement,” said the Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Harare Metropolitan Province Tafadzwa Muguti.

Tafadzwa Muguti (pictured) says Harare’s ministry has taken a hard line stance against non-compliant schools

He said 273 owners of the illegal schools have been convicted and are waiting court judgement adding that at least 23 000 students will be affected when schools reopen on 7 February 2022.

 “To date a total of 320 schools have been shut down due to non- compliance, whilst 273 owners of these illegal institutions have since been arrested and appearing before the courts.

 “It has since been established that 22,569 students were enrolled at these illegal institutions and will be affected when schools reopen on the 7th of February 2022,” he said.

He reiterated that all unlicensed schools have been granted 3 months to acquire licenses from the responsible authorities in order to resume operations.

 “The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in consultation with all stakeholders has therefore extended a grace period of up to the 31st of March 2022 for all these illegal schools and colleges to regularise their operations.

“However those arrested will still appear before the courts. We therefore encourage all those operating schools and colleges illegally across the Province to take advantage of this grace period and regularise with the Ministry, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and all local authorities,” he said.

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