KZN Education Department warns schools against withholding reports
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has issued a warning to schools cautioning them against withholding pupils’ reports due to outstanding fees.
“The department wants to remind schools that withholding of learner’s reports/ results because of parents’ failure to pay school fees is not permitted. The department has on many occasions informed schools that punishing a learner because of parents’ financial challenges is not allowed,” the department’s statement read.
It encouraged schools to instead “discuss with parents” and make payment arrangements, without disturbing the child’s education in the process.
In a radio interview with Cape Talk, Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa executive director Lebogang Montjane said schools can collect the debt through a court order or the normal debt collection mechanism.
“The law provided in Section 29 (12) on the National Protocol on Assessments prohibits the withholding of school reports for any reason. No school can withhold a report but can use the normal forms of debt collection,” said Montjane.
Two months ago, KZN Parents’ Association chairperson Vee Gani told the Daily News he had received a number of complaints from parents on this issue and had reported it to the department.
“Some parents are deliberately not paying, although they are in a position to pay, and there are those who cannot afford to pay. One of the complaints I received was from a single mother who lost her job due to the lockdown and cannot pay her daughter's school fees. She was not issued with her daughter's report last week," said Gani.
He had also received complaints that some schools were refusing to reserve space for pupils whose parents had not paid school fees in full and not paid re-registration fees for next year.
Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has reiterated the plea to schools in her province.
“This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Schools are not allowed to withhold learner results for any reason whatsoever. I would like to appeal to parents to report any such practice to their nearest district office so that we can investigate and take further action, as required,” she said.