GOVERNMENT must intervene and end the confusion in Chongwe where learners who opt to be day scholars have been denied places at a boarding school.
This has obviously left many parents frustrated and question whether the government is genuine when it says education is free.
They are in a quandary.
They find themselves stuck with no solution in sight as Chongwe Secondary School only wants to admit pupils in boarding school that goes with a K1, 000 cost as boarding fee.
But this is a fee that most parents cannot afford, and would rather their children attend school as day scholars for which there are no fees involved.
We feel it is not fair that the children cannot be enrolled at the nearest secondary school.
They must instead pay the K1, 000 boarding fee. They are actually being held to ransom.
This is in direct contravention of Government policy of free education and parents who cannot afford the required fee have appealed to the Minister of Education, Dr Douglas Siakalima to intervene.
According to reports, the school, with a 400 boarding capacity, has only slightly over 100 pupils who have paid while the rest have opted to be day scholars.
However, this has not pleased school authorities who have insisted that they would only admit pupils who pay the K1, 000, meaning all must be boarders.
We feel the government must explain whether schools with boarding facilities must not admit day scholars when they are in the majority as appears to be the case in case.
If anything, it is likely that most of the learners in Chongwe are within the vicinity of the school and find it strange that they be made to be in boarding.
The government must also realise that these are hard times for most families who are struggling to make ends meet.
The free education policy as promised by the UPND government which it is implementing must have been received with open arms for it enables many children to access education.
We feel the management at Chongwe Secondary School is not being fair to deny the local children school places which they cannot afford.
Parents obviously thought they had an option as to whether to have their children in boarding or attend school as day scholars.
We hope this confusion in Chongwe is not being replicated in other parts of the country.
Government must realise that the whole country has welcomed its policy of free education wholeheartedly and appreciate that there are vulnerable families unable to meet the K1, 000 boarding fee. It is therefore unfair to deny the children of such families a chance to have an education which they are entitled to.
Government must clarify whether schools with boarding facilities must not admit day scholars which again defeats the whole policy of having schools within reach – that allows parents to do away with costs associated with boarding fees.