Pupil absenteeism grows in Siavonga


SOME pupils in Siavonga are missing classes as they fear to be used as cheap labourers in nearby farmlands, outspoken losing 2011 Patriotic Front (PF) candidate for Siavonga constituency, Lovemore Kanyama, has revealed.

He accused some school head-teachers in Government primary schools in Chirundu district of hiring out their pupils to farm owners to perform manual work in maize and sorghum fields.

The teachers and farm owners were reportedly paying school headmasters to allow them assign pupils to work in their fields against the law and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) charter on child labour.

He appealed to the Ministry of Education to tour the district and ensure that individuals responsible for such illegal actions were brought to book so that sanity could be restored in the once vibrant Government learning institutions.

Mr Kanyama said in some rural schools in the area, head teachers and PTA chairmen were conniving and using pupils to raise money and materials for constructing classrooms and teachers’ houses by forcing them to work in maize and sorghums field.

He said school-going children must not be subjected to farm work at the expense of learning saying doing so was not only, illegal and heartless but also tantamount to destroying their future.

Mr Kanyama disclosed that school authorities at a named Primary school in Chief Sikoongo’s area were chasing from school pupils whose parents have failed to raise the required K15 Parent Teachers Association school fund.

Mr. Kanyama said he was saddened by the development as the trend was contrary to the PF Government policy of free education for pupils in primary school.

He said most parents in the area were poor and could not afford to raise the school fees for their children hence the need for the headmaster at Sikoongo Primary School to find ways of assisting the affected pupils so that they can also get an education and contribute to the social-economic development of the country.

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