Some regional education directors have warned schools in their regions against charging desperate parents and guardians for application forms, saying admission should not be turned into a “money-making scheme”.
Applications at state schools for grades 1 and 8 next year are currently underway countrywide.
Executive director of education, arts and culture Sanet Steenkamp referred The Namibian to regional education directors when contacted for comment.
The Namibian has seen notices and posters from various schools charging application fees of between N$40 and N$100.
Oshana education director Hileni Amukana on Friday warned schools in the region against selling school admission application forms.
“Applications for admission should not become a money-making scheme for schools, and selling or charging application fees is contrary to Section 53 [of the Education Act],” she said.
Amukana said charging application fees is considered improper conduct and shows a lack of respect for ministerial policies.
“Schools that are unable to provide copies to all parents can request support from the circuit or regional office to provide such forms,” she said.
“Charging fees for application forms discriminates against children whose parents cannot afford these fees,” she said.
Amukana said the education ministry has ensured that all state schools had sufficient application forms.
Ryan Asagai, the inspector of education for the Kalahari circuit, involving schools in and around Keetmanshoop, this week said it is illegal for schools to sell application forms.
“We had a meeting [with schools]. I informed the principals that we are not supposed to charge for the application forms,” he said, adding that no child will be denied an education because their parents cannot afford an application form.
“Every time a parent comes to me with a complaint about an application form, I instantly call the school principal for the child to be issued with an application form,” he said.
Omaheke education director Constance Wantenaar yesterday said: “We have cleared that issue with our schools. We do not ask any fee for an application form at our schools.” She added: “We are not done yet with placements, so when the schools reopen it will also be the closing date for the applications for placements for next year.”
Kunene education director Angelina Jantze said she has not received reports of schools charging fees for application forms.
She said the placement process only started now, “so it is only after a month we can tell how the school placement in the regions is going”.
‘ACCESS TO EDUCATION’
Acting education director in Kavango East Christine Shilima this week said the region has started with a campaign to inform the community of how to approach schools to collect application forms.
She said the schools were supposed to make application forms available to parents for free.
“Our call is for access to education. We want to eliminate the issue of not starting school at the age of seven. We want to know by June how many pupils applications have been received,” she said.
Zambezi regional education director Jost Kawana said he is not aware of schools charging for application forms.
However, some parents have confirmed paying fees for forms.