AUTHORITIES at Maseru Private Academy (MPA) are on a collision course with parents after some learners were turned away from the school over school fees arrears.
A parent who spoke to the Lesotho Times yesterday said their efforts to come up with payment plans hit a snag after the school’s finance manager, Moiz Khan refused to entertain any grievances. The parents say they are unable to settle their fees obligations on time because of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) induced national lockdown.
Lesotho was on lockdown from 30 March to 5 May 2020 as the government tried to avoid the possible spread of Covid-19. During the lockdown, schools, churches, bars and restaurants and other sectors of the economy were closed. Several companies have either cut salaries or totally failed to pay their staff since they did not have any production in April.
It is against this background that some parents have failed to raise school fees.
MPA charges M1050 from primary school learners while high school learners pay M1550 monthly. The fees are supposed to be paid by the 7th of each month.
MPA opened its doors yesterday for learners in Grades 7, 10 and 12, which are all examination classes.
A parent who spoke on conditions of anonymity to protect the identity of the child yesterday said her child was turned away for failing to pay the fees for April in full. She said her child was owing only M500.
The parent said Mr Khan simply told her that “the auditors need the full payment” when she presented proof of the part payment.
“It’s sad because I have committed to paying the remaining part of the fees at the end of the month as I even acknowledged the debt to Mr Khan but he would have none of it. I had hoped they would understand our plight because we did not get paid for April,” the parent said.
Mr Khan told the Lesotho Times that he was acting on the instructions of the school’s auditors. He said it was the school’s policy that all fees must be paid monthly under whatever circumstances.
School director Karl Fritz Crous yesterday refused to comment and directed all questions to the finance department.
The Minister of Education and Training, Mokoto Hlaele, yesterday said the matter was yet to be brought to his attention but added that he would instruct the principal secretary in the ministry, Thabiso Lebese to look into the issue.
“I will instruct my principal secretary, Dr Lebese, to discuss with the MPA authorities on the way forward as well as extending the matter to the parents at schools that might be facing similar challenges,” Mr Hlaele said.