GUTU – Students who paid US$300 instead of the US$400 demanded by the school head at Gutu High were allegedly refused food and accommodation at the school last night triggering an outcry from parents and other concerned stakeholders.
The Mirror was today inundated by calls from sympathisers who alleged that after being refused accommodation, the students comprising boys and girls were forced to sleep in the corridors, the church and the dining hall.
Gutu Urban councillor Bernard Chimwango confirmed the development to The Mirror and said that most of the students were today milling around townships including Mpandawana Growth Point as they did not have bus fare to go back home and collect fees.
Sympathisers expressed shock that the head could leave boys and girls to themselves at night. They feared sexual abuse of the girls.
The head, Mirirai Mutanda’s mobile was off when The Mirror called him. The deputy head Norman Chitamba answered his phone but referred all questions to the head. Chitamba later switched off his phone.
The Mirror is told that the director for secondary education in the Ministry directed the Provincial Education Director (PED) Shylatte Mhike and the District Schools’ Inspector to resolve the issue as a matter of urgency.
The DSI, Ronald Muganhu said he was in a meeting with the PED when The Mirror called him. Mhike said she was not aware of the issue.
Sources told The Mirror that the head and parents opened negotiations over fees on line. However, there was a deadlock with some parents insisting on US$300 per term while the head pushed for US$400.
The head however, immediately acted upon the arrival of students for the first term yesterday and pushed them out.
“The situation at Gutu high is dire following the head’s demand for extra fees which carries no letter of approval. The students were exposed to the harsh weather and conditions as both boys and the girl child had to sleep outside. It’s heartrending and shocking.
“The head was supposed to settle the matter with parents rather than punish children. He imposed fees at US$400 after US$300 was agreed upon and approved by the Ministry after an online meeting,” said a parent. – Masvingo Mirror