By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE charging of money in the name of participation fees for co-curricular activities such as meetings and gathering of teachers and other stakeholders is illegal and must end, Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary Jobbicks Kalumba has directed.
Dr Kalumba told the Daily Nation that the ministry has learnt with sadness the varied affiliation and participation fees being imposed on its different stakeholders for the implementation of co-curricular activities.
Dr Kalumba said the ministry was against monetary charges in the name of participation fees for co – curricular activities. He has directed the school administrators throughout the country to stop the trend. “Whereas the ministry is in support of payment of affiliation fees, it does not sanction uncoordinated participation fees being levied on participants.
“I therefore direct that the varied affiliation and participation fees being imposed on different stakeholders be stopped with immediate effect,” Dr Kalumba said.
He said payment of participation fees has raised concerns from the provinces and the matter has been compounded by the large number of uncoordinated workshops which demand participation fee from the participants. He said the ministry is directing that holding of workshops and meetings should not be used as an excuse to use resources meant for co- curricular activities.
Dr Kalumba has also directed the Provincial Education Officers (PEOs) to inform their staff in the provinces so that no one should charge participation fee on schools or individuals attending such meetings.
He said schools sending teachers for meetings should provide logistics to the teachers and no additional payments should be imposed on the schools. “If stationery is required for the meetings the participants should provide the required materials procured from the school,” he said.
He also said a number of teachers leaving the school for such meetings must not exceed three. Where possible, he said, officers are advised to use e-mails or other forms of communication to get data and avoid frequent movement of officers from their stations.
Dr Kalumba said meetings should be spaced out and should not exceed two days.
He emphasised that teaching and learning should be a priority for the ministry and that money collected by schools for co-curricular activities must be prioritised to improve learner performance.