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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Zimbabwe schools: Your views
School children from a private school in Harare walk past a sign post stating that the school has been shut down
Some 30,000 pupils are reported to be affected by the closures
The authorities in Zimbabwe have closed down at least 45 private schools due to a dispute over school fees.

Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere said the schools had been closed because they increased their fees without government approval.

"They throw Africans out simply by hiking fees," Mr Chigwedere said on state television.

"We are dealing with racist schools. They are all former white schools, all racist."

Here are some of your comments on this story:

This is not a race issue, it is pure politics. I have many black friends at my school. Schools all over the country have large signs saying "School Closed". Police slept at the gates of some schools to "moniter the situation" and to turn away students. I am an A level student at one of the closed schools and we have very important international examinations coming up and are losing valuable teaching time. We are being denied our right to an education. The teachers' salaries with the increased school fees do not even pay their groceries. All private schools had meetings and the parents voted to increase the fees so that we can keep up the standard of our education. My school is run by a non-profit-making trust.
Lucy, Harare, Zimbabwe

I am a black teacher at a private school. The majority of the students at the school are black.
T Matatu, Bulawayo Zimbabwe

i would like to take this opportunity to give a big thanks to Mr president Mugabe with his policies. at last blacks can be proud of themselves all over the world because Cde R.G Mugabe is finishing what all activists have died for, the likes of marcus garvey, sekuru kaguvi&mbuya nehanda,martin luther king etc. restoration has reached 100% now. this has opened doors for so many young black zimbabweans around the country.
tonderai mupandawana, zimbabwe


The only reason less and less Zimbabwean children have access to school is plainly and simply because Mugabe has wrecked the economy.
Lionel Faull, Grahamstown, South Africa

Fee increase in one private school was 30%. Schools in rural areas raised their fees by 1000% in January. Problem caused by spending huge amounts on defence and very little on education.
Anonymous, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

I attended St George's College in Harare, one of the schools that has been closed, in the 80's. It is a school that defied the former white government in admitting black pupils in the 70's, and was always at the forefront of racial tolerance. Many of the priests who ran it were leading critics of the white minority goverment. The reality today is that the vast majority of its pupils are black - as reflected in Zimbabwe's society as a whole. Whites make up an increasingly irrelevant minority in Zimbabwe - both socially, economically and politically. Saying anything else is racist nonsense. Schools must raise prices or go bust - just like anyone else in an 800% inflation country!
James, UK

My family all work at one of those school and i attended that school, the one that Mugabe's son attends, racism was never a problem, all the youth worked together, the school is run by the Jesuit society determined to treat all people equally. Maybe it was a former "white" schools but they are now more determined than any one in that country to rebuild an stable society, especially for the youth. If the fees did not rise teachers could never cope with the current inflation, it is a struggle as it is with the current school fees. This is a complete violation of the right to education.
Peter, Harare, Zimbabwe

I am absolutely dumbfounded! How could Mugabe do this when his greatest achievement has been the high level of education for Zimbabweans?
David Meyer, Manchester, UK

How does the government expect teachers to be paid , pupils to be fed if fees do not go up in accordance with the gross inflation of the country. Where do ministers children go to school and why ?

As the only white child of an intake of 278 into Mount Pleasant High School in Harare, Zimbabwe during 1983/84 , I would find the notion that these schools are being closed on "racist" grounds laughable, if it were'nt so sad and pathetic
Anonymous, Birmingham, England

Racism in Zimbabwe is now being practiced financialy. There are places where only whites can be found not because blacks are not allowed there, but because they are beyond the reach of many blacks who were disadvantage during the colonial era at a time when most whites were accumulating wealth. Only a small group of blacks, who have accumulated some wealth since independence can afford the life style reserved for whites. Mugabe has been our hero and is continuing to be our hero by representing us the majority of Zimbabwe. Maybe we can also afford to study at those white schools.
Richard Chari, Harare

Richard Chari seems to want something for nothing. Does he not realise that without the fees these schools want to charge, the education they offer today will no longer be there tomorrow? Wake up, Zimbabwe - and face economic reality.
Peter HEath, Plumtree, Zimbabwe

The Minister is closing the schools to protect high ranking officials from paying the high fees. It's amazing why they want their kids to attend private schools when Govt schools are in abundance. Isn't it that they run away from Govt Schools because they are generally underfunded hence the poor facilities at the schools? So now they want to run down the formerly well-run private schools through the same means - underfunding!! Those who enroll their kids at private schools must be prepared to pay the high fees. I did not enroll my kids at a private school because I could not afford the fees.
AM, Harare, Zim

well all that i can say is that they may think they are punishing the schools ,but the truth of the matter is that the pupils are going to be affected at the end of the day.
lucy , bulawayo

My sister, who still lives in Zimbabwe, received an email in advance, warning her of the current events. She therefore did not take my nephew to school. This is absurd, inflation is approximately 800% per annum, how can private schools possibly be restricted to only increasing their fees by 10% per annum? Labelling them racist, when only one third of pupils are white. Despite the decline in the economy in Zimbabwe, until now, private education was something that had maintained it's very high standards - no longer it seems!
alha, UK

Most private schools in Zimbabwe are still majority white-by a long way. Month on month inflation in zimbabwe is not 580%. that's the figure if you compare this month's prices with the same time last year. inflation has been declining this year. raising fees by 50% is not necessarily justified. be it racism or extortion, it must looked into. i went to a private school-i know that fees were often raised for dicey reasons.
NgaGidhla Khona, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

it is likewise even here in South africa. Racisim is now conducted based on your economy. Whites still have whites only school only that now it is not in the consitution that they have that right, but they do it by hiking fees. They still have money so they can keep blacks away by this method. Indeed I do belive that this kind of behaviour is encouraging racism both in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The transfer of power from whites to blacks has not been complited yet, its a long process and in the mean time only those with many can exploit it. Black school are still under funded. There must be a way of leting blacks in such school with low fees or based on the income of parents, that is if we want to iradicate racism.
mokaa, South Africa

Many cabinet ministers children attend school and University in UK, USA and Australia. They should be made to suffer the sins of their fathers by sending them back to experience the policies of their parents. Only then would sense prevail.
james, London, England

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