Schools fleece parents through entrance tests


PARENTS and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have accused schools of using entrance tests as a fundraising platform through interviewing unreasonably more students than can be accommodated.


Schools around the country were charging between $20 and $200 for pupils to go through Form One and Grade One selection processes.

PTUZ Secretary-General Raymond Majongwe said it was fraudulent that schools were interviewing a lot more pupils than necessary.

“It is purely unfortunate that processes have taken this particular route. It’s unfortunate that schools have now taken to acting in this manner,” Majongwe said.

“You can have 50 places and yet 300 children will sit for the entrance exam. This is the inherent weakness of having so many centres of power.  This money ultimately is never accounted for and it’s unfair on the parents.”

Parents said the move was unfair as most children normally sat for more than one entrance exam before they secured a place.

“Schools are taking entrance fees as a fundraising activity because you find that some schools invite more than double the number of pupils required for the available places,” Primrose Guta, a parent, said.

“Where does this money go? It is very unfair because you go to a number of schools before you get accepted so you can imagine how much parents have to pay before securing a place.”

Other parents said where possible, there should be measures put in place to curb such behaviour at schools so that parents were not exposed to daylight robbery.

Education minister David Coltart said schools should desist from fleecing parents by charging exorbitant entrance test fees for prospective pupils.

“We are not against entrance fees per se, but schools must never use this as a fundraising activity. If a school has entrance tests it can’t have thousands of people sitting for 60 places. That will be unfair to parents,” Coltart said.

“The charge must be reasonable and it must be in line with the actual costs of running those entrance tests.”

He said schools could not unilaterally increase entrance fees without the consent of parents.

“Schools are not entitled to unilaterally increase entrance fees. They have to bring these issues to the parent body and they will deliberate on whether there is need to raise the fees,” he said.

“If schools are unilaterally raising fees parents can take this up with the school’s parent-teacher body or take it up with the district body.”


  1. In this difficult economy it is truly selfish of schools to charge so much for entrance tests to poor folks. However, sitting 300 pupils for 50 places is just a reflection of demand for places, Mr. Majongwe! Former rhodie schools like Peter House should be investigated for the 20 grand ‘deposit’ they are requesting from us to apply for a place for our children. I am sure the rhodies are not being asked for that kind of money to get their rhodie kids in.

    • The Ministry should do something about these schools, for example most Catholic schools are inviting more than 1000 pupils for 80 places which was very unfair, why does the Ministry allow this and to add more to that they only take10% or 20% non catholics. The Ministry should look into these catholic shcools, vakutoita humbavha huri pachena.

      • Go to Catholic if you wanna go there. Munozoramba kuenda kumisa so if yu don’t have a baptism certificate haulume.

        • Ndinoshamiswa nevanhu vanoda ma catholic schools asi vachinyomba iyo church yacho,udzai papa Makandiwa vavake zvikoro muende ikoko musatinetsa pliz ,Regai vedu vafunde mari dzatinobvisa dzetinth neoffering dzinonovaka zvikoro dzenyu dzirikuendepi

          • Well said Tindo, Liam not anCatholic but l respect what the Catholics, Anglicans & Methodists have done about education. Ava vana Makandiwa basa nderekudya mari yacho as if its profit from a business

      • Its not about Catholic Schools most boarding schools are practising this. Its only that the Roman Catholic has prioritised education in terms of the number of schools they have and infrastructure, but most boarding school both primary and secondary are very much involved in this fundraising scourge. What we need is a Ministerial pronouncement that this must cease with immediate effect. Mr David Coltart crack the whip please!

      • I am not and cant dispute a fundraising element in these entrance examinations. its not new, it has been like this since way back. I was number 898 in my entrance examination but i got the place among the 140 priviledged few.

        My question is what criteria do you suggest good schools like Mazowe high, St Ignatius, St Dominics Chishawasha, St Augustines, Christe Mambo, Kutama,Moleli etc should use if they are to be restricted from testing evryone interested? The current practise is the best in all fairness. All well meaning parents want their kids to go to these schools were they are guaranteed of getting 15+points the places available are limited.
        Majongwe imbavhawo iyeyu anofunga kuti iye kana achiba mari yema ticha munhu wese aambavhawo or abatikana nekuti yema entrance exams haasi kuluma.

        grade 7 results dont work for there can be 1000 kids vanawo all wanting a place at St ignatius, what criteria then should be used?

  2. i dont think 20 dollars is a justifiable amount , mazuva edu is taingoenda kuchikoro , izvi zvamazuva ano hameno ,iyo us dollar iyi , yava educationoprenuership chaiyo , why always money money

    • same story since time immemorial.ministry ever learning but no action never comes to the reality of truth.they (both ministrry and school administrators) do not have people at heart.

    • Iwe Majongwe shandisa pfungwa. You want schools to turn away parents who bring their children for interviews nokuti vawandisa? Ziva zvako zvekubira poor teachers ma 10 dollars every month ne PTUZ mafia yako. Shut up!

      • Zawindo siyana na majongwe why not turn away the parent than cheat him of his money. I would prefer to be told ‘wanonoka, vakwana vanyora’ than nyorai pamwe munowana ivo vachiziva kuti vakwana vavanoda. Une brain here Zawindo pamwe ndiri kutaura ne hwindo.

  3. Why don’t they refund the parents who’s child did not get in to the school. That would put an end to it . For those who are accepted Add an extra fee to cover the exams which they would cover the costs of holding the exams.


  5. fleecing! yes and no. my dear zimbaz, you need to understand our quagmire of quandary. it’s all about meagre salaries for the poor teachers, particularly if it is done in government institutions. these monies obviously will go to incentives for the poor teachers, but of course the sda and school admin pocketing the bigger chunk. sorry for the seeming allegation,which in any case is the truth. so, really, there is nothing to be perplexed about this rampant unscrupulous anomally. i equally feel pity for myself and other parents when we get milked of our hard earned monies. nonetheless, the bottom line lies on the pittance teachers get as ‘salaries’, hence they have a preponderance of turning to ‘INCENTIVES’. what that means is that the government should just work to improve public servants’ salaries (teachers in particular), to curb the practice of embezzlement done by these institutions. we can cry of paucity of resources, but, my argument is that let us have them shared and enjoyed equittably.

  6. when i enrolled for my form 1 i just took with me my G7 result slip and that was all. The system worked. what has changed? why the entrance tests? it makes national exams useles. why bother writting G7 when all is needed is an entrance test? This thing should just be banned or at least to put limit to the amount one can pay for those test say to $5 coz its not an obligation for school to do entrance tests.
    Again school are not allowed to segregate on religious grounds, but rather famileis can make choices of school for their children depending on their religion.
    Mr Coltart needs to put a stop to this evil.

  7. Its regrettable that school authorities have been caught in a catch twenty-two situation where ends can not meet and they end up using hook and crook means to survive the economic melt down. Until forces of wisdom and logical reason filters through their minds that the sun rises from the east always, they will learn to do the right things always. Yes, we may plea for sanity, but the financial constraints have taken a toll on most schools thereby motivating unorthodox tendencies like this scenario. May the powers that be intervene for the benefit of the impoverished parents whose plight is like a cigarette which on one side is burnt and on the other end it experiences the same combat.

  8. What purpose is being served by the grade 7 examination? The grade 7 results are not required to select students for form one entry, but O-level and A-level results are used for form 5 and university entry. So why have the grade 7 exams if they serve any purpose? Stop the entrance tests and use the grade seven results for form one selection in line with the practice with O-level and A-level results!

  9. when you go looking for a place at a catholic school they tell you that we dont mind if you are not ctholic but wait until the selection process.they wont take you under flimsy reasons.methodist schools take all students regardless of religious inclination.lets not divide children.there is one God.on the day of pentecost christians were gathered in one place speaking different languages but they could hear each other because God is the common denominator.Lets be examplary Christians and not hypocrites

  10. Mr Coltart some schools are going a gear further by buying expensive double diff buses for primary school kids.Whats the purpose of such buses?After buying, the headmaster and school secretary together with the SDA chairman inflate receipts and pocket the difference. Varume ini ndanzwa nekujutwa. Please Minister, thru this correspondence I urge you to stop this “Bus buying race” by schools otherwise……………..

    • @Mupfana- Very important observation about these buses..they are now being used as avenues for robbing parents..Please bus manufacturers out there do the correct thing and tell us what is the standard price for a bus? We know of schools in the sameregion using the same bus bought about the same time but the prices are different in some cases by as much as 20 000 dollars. Selling buses makes you corporate citizens, do the right thing and tell us how much these buses cost so that parents can hold their SDAs to account not some fiction laden invoices these SDAs are presenting to schools. Newsday should take time to look at this area inclusive of sinking boreholes at schools..It is a free for all out there!

  11. at Anglican we are all Gods children.lets not deny students places under any pretext.there is one God.Paul always said Jesus is for us all.

  12. How much does bond paper cost? And printing the test? It day light robbery. Let stand up for our rights. Those who send their children to catholic schools will regret it, especially devout christians. Mark these words, it’s a matter of time but very soon.

  13. i am surprised that 5 year olds are being interviewed. where has our humanity gone.children should just be put into school.when my sisters daughter followed her to the Uk she got a place at school the day she went lookin for it even without a residence permit .if the child is not good enough she should just repeat while already at school.God bless

  14. how do you differentiate little 5/6 year olds.lets not humiliate small children by questionable selection processes.Let children come to me because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

  15. interviews at some of these school are just a formality because they will be having their names already.interviews are just public relations and fund raising gimmicks.the interviewers will be having their names beforehand and they just come up with excuses for turning away other students.lets be fair

  16. If the government is sure of its zimsec results they must ban these entrance tests. This is clearly a money making venture and a school which says no is lying because I went to Sandringham, almost 1400 students wrote an entrance test whose fee was a non-refundable 25 usd. They wanted 80 students so why have 1400 students wrting, if its not money making then at lest they should take the first 200 if they want 80 seriously on 200 students they will get a 80 creams. but alas if 1400×25 what do you get? It was the same at most schools I went. Just use grade seven results period. The ministry has to enforce that. Isusu taitsvagirwa nzvimbo ne essay. You write an essay and it is dispatched to schools of your choice, you name 5 and they start from the top, now this geed in schools is becoming a worm and must be stopped.

  17. Zawindo, your justification of the practice is pathetic. Majogwe runs a legitimate trade union. A trade union is jioned voluntarily. Find something else if you have a need to take a go at Majogwe

  18. Its not necessarily tru tht catholic schools admitt by denomination. i went to arguably the most popular catholic skul in the country and in my stream there were more non catholics than catholics….

  19. how do you determine the number oof cotestants per vacancy?it’s essentially a normative issue therefore subject to personal prejudices and such other real circumstances as one’s station in life as so defined in terms of financial adequacy or lack thereof.the fees serve as a rationing device and that controls quality from the word go and so on and so on

  20. I don’t recall paying anything for my enterance test in Std Three for Std Four and In Std Six for Form One and On Form Two For Form Three now its something else on my dear old school. May be Fr Davis is Resting In Peace or Restless

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