Bribery scam rocks school. . . Headmistress demands up to $60 for ECD places

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THE headmistress at Henry Low Primary School located in the Greenhill suburb of Bulawayo is at the centre of a bribery storm after some parents sensationally accused her of demanding bribes from them so that their children can obtain places at the school.

The headmistress, Lyiza Mguni, is allegedly demanding bribes ranging between $50 and $60 so that pupils can obtain places.

About 21 parents have reportedly brought the same allegation against the headmistress in question.

She is also accused of giving preference to children from other areas at the expense of those from the local community.

“I went to the school to have my child in Grade One admitted. The headmistress demanded $60 for the admission. I gave her and asked her for a receipt for the money but she did not give any receipt,” said a parent who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

Added another parent: “We are now stranded because the school headmistress is demanding bribes so that our children can obtain ECD or Grade One places.

“This is very disturbing and we hope the relevant ministry will immediately intervene.We are being asked to pay kickbacks ranging from $50 to $60 and that’s a lot of money considering that things are hard these days.”

Many desperate parents are reportedly falling prey to the corrupt practices of the headmistress.

Parents and guardians of the pupils, who have been victims of the corrupt practices of the headmistress, have since approached Councillor for Ward 5, Felix Mhaka whose jurisdiction the school falls under, seeking action against the headmistress.

In their complaints, they have stated that the headmistress has been seeking $60 from parents or guardians for getting their child admitted to school.

The councillor confirmed the disturbing incident saying he had since approached the provincial education offices to alert them on the development.

“As per rule, there is no provision of giving money at the time of admission or for any other educational matters in the Government schools. But the headmistress concerned is bent on demanding money right from admission of a child. About 21 parents have approached me and are prepared to open up after officials from the provincial education offices said they need tangible evidence.

“This is bad and from all the schools under Ward 5 that is the only one with a problem where parents are also complaining of harassment at the hands of the headmistress,” said Clr Mhaka.

He further said when he confronted the headmistress, on why she was not giving first preference to children from the local community, Mguni blamed the parents saying they were the ones who were selling proof of residence addresses to parents from other suburbs so that they could obtain places for their children.

Mguni, however, declined to entertain questions from B-Metro saying she was not allowed to speak to the Press.

Contacted for comment Bulawayo acting Provincial Education Director Mrs Olicah Kaira said she had not yet received the reports adding that her office was going to investigate the matter.