The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has petitioned authorities at Mahombekombe Primary School to allow pupils to register for their Grade Seven examinations despite the non-payment of registration fees guaranteed by the government.
ZLHR’s Tinashe Chinopfukutwa on Tuesday 26 July 2022 gave a twenty-four-hour ultimatum to the school’s headmaster only identified as Beretino to allow the beneficiaries of the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) to register for the November Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) examinations. ZLHR said:
Without giving any reasons, Beretino reportedly told parents and guardians that their children’s examination registration fees will not be paid through the government-backed BEAM programme.
Parents and guardians are expected to make payments at examination registration centres by Friday 29 July 2022.
In response to Beretino’s conduct, Chinopfukutwa on Tuesday 26 July 2022 served him with a letter demanding that he within twenty-four hours forward the list of names of all Grade Seven students, who are enrolled on the BEAM programme to the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), for payment of their 2022 examination fees.
Chinopfukutwa protested that the summary and arbitrary decision to withhold BEAM benefits to the pupils is unlawful, and constitutes a breach of the learners’ right to “basic State-funded education”.
In addition, Beretino’s conduct, Chinopfukutwa said, amounts to treating the learners in an unfair and discriminatory manner based on the economic and social status of their disadvantaged parents and guardians.
This, the human rights lawyer said, is a breach of the affected learners’ right to equality and non-discrimination as set out in section 56 of the Constitution.
Chinopfukutwa also warned that Beretino’s conduct amounts to a breach of the affected learners’ right to administrative justice guaranteed in section 68 of the Constitution, which entitles them to be furnished with reasons in writing for the adverse administrative conduct that the school head has adopted against the learners.
Chinopfukutwa said Beretino’s failure to comply with the students’ parents and guardians’ demands will leave him with no choice but to institute legal action against the school head seeking an order to compel him to register the students so as to write their Grade Seven examinations.