VEILED INTENT OR ADVANCING CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO EDUCATION? THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENTS FOR EXTRA LESSONS IN ZIMBABWE’S EDUCATION SYSTEM, PP. 97-115
Extra lessons in Zimbabwe were initially designed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to assist learners with lagging aspects of their formal school learning areas. However, in the past few years, extra lessons have taken a new dimension, including the intent to reinforce a learner’s knowledge and ability to understand lessons taught. Although payment for extra lessons in the formal education setting was declared illegal by the government, the practice continues to be a challenge in Zimbabwe as payments are still demanded for extra lessons conducted in and outside the school premises.
The situation worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in some teachers taking advantage of the prolonged schools closure and conducting extra lessons in their homes wherein parents and guardians had to pay a certain amount for their children to undertake these extra lessons. Extra lessons have become a mixture of entrepreneurship and exploitation, with many parents failing to afford and some children missing out. Undoubtedly, this has an impact on children’s right to education, considering that some children are missing out. Whilst some parents and guardians argue that certain teachers are abusing the practice of extra lessons for personal enrichment, others argue that extra lessons are critical as they enhance their children’s knowledge, thus advancing their right to education. This therefore creates a need to examine whether such practice is really corruption or a means to advance children’s right to education. This article examines payments for extra lessons from a child rights lens, with a focus on the right to education. The article contextualises corruption from a child rights perspective, followed by a discussion of the international and national legal framework on children’s right to education. An examination of the legality of payments for extra lessons in Zimbabwe’s education system follows. At its core, the article examines whether the practice is corruption or a means of advancing children’s right to education. A conclusion and recommendations follow.