NANCY SIAME, Mambwe
GOVERNMENT has warned that it will prosecute individuals and organisations that have encroached on land reserved for school infrastructure across the country.
And Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Michael Kaingu has directed authorities in Government schools across the country to stop chasing away pupils who fail to pay school fees and other requirements.
Dr Kaingu said he has observed with dismay that most school land across the country has been encroached upon and this is reducing space for the expansion of infrastructure.
He said this in Mambwe on Saturday when he visited Jumbe Secondary School where he found that a church had been built on school land.
â€œThis problem has been rampant and has greatly reduced the chances of our schools expanding,â€ Dr Kaingu said.
He appealed to people and organisations that have encroached on school land to vacate or risk being prosecuted.
The minister also said land given to Government by chiefs must not be encroached on as it is state property.
â€œWhen land is given to Government to construct a school, it fully belongs to Government,â€ Dr Kaingu said.
On school fees, Dr Kaingu said any pupil who fails to pay must not be sent away.
â€œSchool authorities can know, through their own investigations, which pupils are vulnerable and those can even be asked to pay in kind,â€ he said.
He said vulnerable children must be accommodated at all costs because Government wants to provide education to all.
Earlier, Dr Kaingu addressed teachers and the community at Mfuwe Secondary School.
The minister advised the community to support teachers and not to victimise them.
He also inspected boarding facilities and classrooms built by cooperating partners.
â€œAs Government, we are happy with the support that we have been receiving from our stakeholders where education is concerned,â€ Dr Kaingu said.
He later paid a courtesy call on Mambwe district commissioner Caroline Mwanza and district education board secretary Theresa Ngoma.
The minister has concluded his tour of school infrastructures in Eastern province.
â€œI am happy with the attitude of our partners in Eastern Province because they know that education has to be a partnership and not just for Government alone, â€œ he said.
NANCY SIAME, Mambwe