An investigation of how selected historically disadvantaged schools in Pietermaritzburg education district manage the prevalent non-payment of school fees.
Mseleku, Mbangiseni Gabriel.
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The study was set out to investigate how selected historically disadvantaged schools in the Pietermaritzburg Education District, manage the prevalent non-payment of fees. The study used the survey method. The principals of schools were targeted because they are the accounting officers for the financial matters and executive members of the School Governing Bodies. Permission for conducting this research was obtained from the District Manager for the Department of Education and the principals of the sampled schools. For the purpose of data collection, the use of questionnaire and document analysis was adopted. Five principals, each representing their respective circuit in the District, responded to the questionnaire. The research studied financial records to obtain a general view of how principals manage school fees and to draw conclusion on the extent of non-payment of fees. The findings revealed that there is widespread tendency of non-payment of fees in schools. Poverty was cited as the reason for non-payment. Low and middle level income parents did not prioritise school fees from the lists of their accounts. Though principals understand that the victimising of non-paying learners of any form is contradictory to the South African Schools Act No 48 of 1996, they go on to withhold learners' results. Parents have not applied for school fee exemption and schools have not yet advised them to do so. Non-paying parents are reluctant to explain their position to the school and also unwilling to offer voluntary service to school as a form of payment. School fundraising efforts do not help them gain any reasonable amount of cash. The parental support in this venture is lacking. The study recommends that principals should look at other means of dealing with payment and should assist the eligible parents to apply for fee exemption. The Department of Education should consider scaling down personnel expenditure in the office based ranks to add more funds for teaching and learning in the historically disadvantaged schools.