04 May 2016
The new school term began yesterday.
While some pupils are excited at the idea, there are students who shiver at the idea of entering into a new school term because they wonder if they will be allowed into the school yard come tomorrow.
Failure by parents to pay school fees before schools open has seen many students abhor opening school and suffer psychologically as a result of the stigmatization that they are forced to succumb to by their parents, school authorities and even fellow students.
Primarily the blame should fall on parents for putting their children in difficult circumstances by not paying school fees in time.
The culture of trying to force parents to pay fees in most schools is targeted at the students and not their parents.
And more often than not, the methods used to enforce payment are directed at students and seek to stigmatise, even humiliate the affected scholars.
Chances are these students are made to remain behind after assembly or some school official goes round the school asking all students who have not settled their fees to go to the headmasterâ€™s office or some central place for what other students will call â€˜poorâ€™ students.
That is unfortunate for a number of reasons. For starters, it is never the studentâ€™s responsibility to pay school fees and when there is a shortfall or non-payment of the fees, school heads or other authorities must contact and deal with the affected studentâ€™s parents.
The whole idea behind wearing uniforms at school is to hide the different backgrounds that students come from; it is to make students feel equal be it economically, socially or intellectually. Once a school begins to demarcate students on the basis of their parentsâ€™ ability to pay fees, it has lost the whole purpose behind the idea of making scholars feel equal.
It is very easy for school authorities to contact parents directly through phone calls or even texts if the former is costly.
The psychological effects of a parentâ€™s failure to pay fees on a student are grave and may even affect them academically and socially.
School authorities should therefore see to it that the burden of paying fees is felt only by parents as schools open.
It is grossly unfair for a student to drop in their academic performances because they feel different from other students whose fees are paid in time.
A responsible parent, who has failed to provide school fees for their child in time, will not even wait to be called by the school to explain their failure. They will see the school before opening day and inform the authorities of their problem and proposed payment plan before their child is affected. Please, let students learn without disruptions.