One common way that schools use to induce students to pay their debts is to withhold their results. Often students are in areas when they sit for their public examinations. To make sure they pay these areas schools sometimes withhold their final results and refuse to hand out results slips and certificates. The hope is that the student is scared enough to pay. This strategy recently backfired for Fatima High School in Matabeleland.

Several students including Wellington Nyoni, who wrote his exams in 2015 and 2017, Sithembinkosi Ndhlovu who wrote in 2015 had their results withheld by the school over none-payment of fees. This is despite the fact that at least one of each student’s parents was a war veteran and their fees were paid by the government.

The frustrated students roped in ZLHR who engaged the school’s headmaster and demanded that their clients’ results be released forthwith or face litigation. The chastened headmaster professed ignorance in the matter and asked the students to report to the school so the matter could be resolved amicably.

In 2018 the High Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for schools to withhold results as a way to force students to pay their arrears. Despite this, a lot of schools still do this.

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