What price education?

25 08 2011

At the beginning of every school term, and there are three, I get a request for loans from my labour to pay school fees (see the picture). They get a good deal; I don’t charge interest and they get three months to pay the loan back. I do reserve the right to cap the loans to what I think is a sensible figure and this term I will cap it at $150 so they do get SOME money in the pocket. I also take the money off at source, i.e. the get the wage less the loan amount each month.This application is especially notable for the last line that I have highlighted in pink (other highlighting was done by the senior foreman). It seems that the teachers, eager to augment their admittedly meagre salaries, have hit on an “incentive” scheme to ensure that the children actually are taught something i.e. the teachers do come to class and do teach! How it is enforced I am not sure but I am sure this added income will not appear on an income tax return anywhere. It seems this last line was added to the loan application to sway my sympathies and grant the amounts asked for. As I told the foreman, I don’t care what they use the loan for and I am not going to check, so no, I was unmoved.

When Zimbabwe first got independence education and healthcare were free. It did not last – Zimbabwe was simply not in the financial situation to carry those sort of burdens. Now not only does education have to be paid for so do the teachers! The government COULD afford to pay teachers and other civil servants better – they just need to funnel income e.g. from diamonds, to the correct people. Will this be remembered when the population comes to vote as seems likely next year? Not likely.

Loan requests for the 3rd term



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