Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
…Legacy standards intact
..School fees not changing
…Announcement premature: Govt
Government has described the move by St Ignatius College authorities to announce the change of the learning institution’s status to private school as unprocedural.
St Ignatius College wrote a letter to parents, guardians and stakeholders dated October 4th 2019 notifying them of a change of status from being a Government aided school to a private Trust school effective January 1 2020.
Contacted for comment, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the move to privatise the college is lauded but the board has jumped the gun in announcing the development.
“We have received the proposal which was submitted to the Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education and they are yet to get the response.
“The board has been mischievous in announcing before they have been responded to by the Secretary and that is unprocedural.
“The Roman Catholic Church is influential in such matters as it is also the bearers of many schools in Zimbabwe, we applaud that and I have had a fruitful conversation with the priest representing the issue,” said Mavhima.
Mavhima said the development will enable the ministry to assist other priorities with the budget intended for the college’s staff.
The board chairman for St Ignatius College Father Chiedza Chimhanda spoke to H-Metro on the changes and its implication saying the decision is a strategic plan for the school.
“We have just detached from Government which aided us through the welfare and remuneration of the teaching staff and nothing else other than that.
“This is not a move to adjust anything, school fees is RTGS$ 3500 per term and we do not charge in foreign currency as this college was built on a poor people background and not for profit making.
“We will try to cater for the staff with salaries at a competitive rate to maintain the legacy and standards of the school,” said Fr Chimhanda.
The board chairman said the changes are an ongoing process and the board of trustees comprises competent personalities who are managing the affairs of the school.
“The college was already a private entity owned by a board of trustees which is also in charge of other catholic institutions such as St George’s College and St Dominics Chishawa,” he said.
Fr Chimhanda, who is also rector at the college, said he engaged parents, former students, local Jesuit society and other stakeholders regarding the changes.
“We met with all the stakeholders to highlight the changes and we have considered their desire to incorporate Cambridge Curriculum which will take effect along with the local Curriculum.
“We are in compliance with the Ministry (of Primary and Secondary Education) in every aspect and that is why it is necessary to excel and maintain the legacy of the school which has produced lawyers, doctors, scientist and prominent leaders,” he added.
Part of the letter addressed to parents, guardians and stakeholders reads;
“This decision is rooted in the strategic plan of the College which seeks to strengthen the characteristics of Jesuit education at the College in line with contemporary developments and needs in learning and teaching.
“The administration and staffing structures at the College will be adjusted to align to the new status of the College.
“Care will been taken to ensure that the College remains affordable while charging reasonable fees necessary for the meaningful development of the College”.
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