WITH just one week to go before schools reopen, the no-fee schools in Mpumalanga are in turmoil as they have not received their subsidies for the 2010/11 financial year.

No-fee schools receive a subsidy per pupil to assist poverty-stricken communities to educate their children without having to pay fees.

But concerned teachers and principals at most of these schools in the province say they have not received a cent this year and don't know why the department has not disbursed the money.

"They simply don't talk to us," said one principal.

"We are waiting anxiously for the department to pay the subsidy."

Another teacher at a high school in Marapyane, near KwaMhlanga, said the problem was widespread.

The teacher said principals across the province were desperate as schools were unable to fund even the most basic of functions.

This revelation comes only a month after the 2010/2011 budget was approved by the legislature.

One principal said he contacted the department last week and was told that they were waiting for a memorandum of instruction to pay over the subsidy.

They said they were unsure when this would be issued.

Mpumalanga has about 772000 pupils in no-fee schools, and the provincial education department is expected to pay over an estimated R6,22million to these schools this year.

Spokesperson for the provincial education department Jasper Zwane said as far he was aware all schools had received the subsidies.

"But in the event that there are schools that have not received the money, they must contact us accordingly," he said.