Principal in hot water over school fees row
Principal wanted to know from parents why they could not pay R1.33c a day to contribute to the R400-a-year school fees
A DURBAN high school principal, who allegedly expelled pupils after their failure to pay school fees, will be investigated by the Department of Education.
In a strongly worded letter Ntokozo Ngobese wanted to know from their parents why they could not pay R1.33c a day to contribute to the R400-a-year school fees.
Ngobese allegedly expelled 234 Chesterville Extension Secondary School pupils because they had not paid their school funds.
The grade 11 and 12 pupils claim Ngobese told them they would not be allowed to attend classes until their parents had paid or had provided him with a legitimate explanation for nonpayment.
The school's matric pass rate was 86% last year,while it stood at 96% in 2010.
A parent, Mathu Msomi, said expulsions were common at the school.
"Some of the children are orphans, and those who take care of them have to balance between providing them with food and paying school fees. Parents are fed up with Ngobese for expelling pupils every year," said Msomi.
But Ngobese denied expelling the pupils.
"The letter was only a reminder to the parents that they have not yet paid the school fees. I did not expel pupils from the school. All I ask is for them to come with their parents to explain when the school fees will be paid. Though this is a fee-paying school, the law does not allow children to be expelled," he said.
Only 209 of the 936 pupils have paid part of the R400 due this year.
Ngobese said the school did not have a cent in its bank account and that the eThekwini municipality has threatened to switch off electricity unless R40,000 was paid.
"I wrote a letter to the municipality pleading with them to give us time. I have also written to other service providers who have been sitting on my head," he said.
Ngobese said teachers employed by the school governing body were also not paid last month.
"Providing quality education to our pupils is our core business, but we need parents to meet us halfway ..."
He said the school fees had not increased for the past seven years.
Education spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said if Ngobese was found to have expelled pupils, he will have broken the law.
"The law is clear. The principal has no reason whatsoever to expel pupils. He should address the issue with parents while education remains uninterrupted. We will investigate the matter."