‘School fees freeze will backfire’

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INDEPENDENT stakeholders in the education sector have warned that government’s recent blanket freeze on school fees without providing other supporting mechanisms such as educational grants might backfire and negatively affect the quality of education.

BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

Justice for Children Trust programmes director Caleb Mutandwa yesterday told NewsDay that the policy directive should have been complemented by other support mechanisms to ensure schools remained financially sound.

Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Constance Chigwamba is on record saying government had placed a moratorium on any school fees increases in 2014, adding that any applications for increases had been turned down.

Said Mutandwa:“If one wants to look at the issue from the perspective of parents, the freeze is a welcome move as many parents are failing to pay fees resulting in their children being sent away from school.

“However, when one looks at it from the perspective of provision of quality education to children, implementation of such a directive without government support to schools might affect the schools in terms of infrastructure and teaching aids,” he said.

“Government should be talking of grants to support schools and implementing what the constitution says that there should be free primary education. If government wanted to safeguard the interests of parents at schools they should monitor if school fee increases were agreed on in a participatory manner by parents instead of freezing increases in fees without supporting schools with grants.”

Schools open next week and most parents are grappling with the task of meeting educational costs for their children.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions acting secretary-general Gideon Shoko said education was a constitutional right, but must be paid for.

“Parents who are employed are threatening strike action and what we urge government to do pertaining to the issue is to complement the freeze in school fee increases by allocating more money to the education budget so that it removes some of the financial burden from parents,” Shoko said.

He said populist policies could be detrimental to the country as they might affect education.

36 COMMENTS

  1. its gud 4 the teachers . bt at the same time lets concider the parents are nt earning more than what teachers are earning. we have to bring somthng home afta job well done an cover other expenses than pour the whole salary to coverskul fiz bring othr mechanisms to solve this issue than milk the hardly earned salary i thank you

  2. This illegitimate government is TOTALLY clueless about the welfare of us, the citizens. They are busy fighting factions. Shame.

  3. This freezing of prices of products & services seems to only happen when this party is in power, and we all know the consequences of such moves

  4. Zimbabweans let’s wake up and wean ourselves of Zim $ mentality.we are using real money aka US $.we can not go on increasing fees when inflation figures show otherwise.already parents are paying way above their ability . If u put in extra lessons and incentives it becomes worse. Zctu is failing to come up with PDL salaries bt blames govt which has acted on behalf of all parents.where were these fake organizations in e past.they benefit from fees increases.in most schools voting for fees increases is done against parents wishes. Even then e approved budget is not followed with wayward expenses .I know of a school which paid almost $2000 just for bees removal. The govt is right

  5. Thumbs up to the government, this is a very good move..however decreasing the fees would have been better

  6. Why dont the government pay the shortfall rather than freezing the fees. I dont think its a good idea to freeze the fees.

  7. Thank you very much Government. People cried for the US Dollar now we are using it and they still want to continue with their wanton unjustified increases. I dont think this applies ne USD. There is too much profiteering in this country.

  8. This is not a school fees freeze but a freeze in unrestrained fees increase. There is a tendency by some of us to dismiss such sensible moves as populist policies that are bad for business; ‘good for business’ is a fancy way of saying good for a few capitalists at the expense of the people. It is very taxing for us, the parents, to keep up with increasing fees while paying for extra lessons at the same time. Without the government regulating schools’ fees structures only the rich will benefit from decent education. However, the government must put in place structures to ensure that all schools are able to provide the basics, those with deeper pockets will always have more options but the rest of us need protection.

    • @scotv- I am inclined to agree..why has the ministry been approving levies 20 times more than the inflation rate? If this is an attempt at cleaning house, it is meaningless until we are told what happened to the funds paid earlier higher than the inflation rate? Courtenay Sealous in Greendale is charging 140 per term which 90% of the parents who are said to have approved this are failing to pay..and in addition last year they lumped in another 100 dollars for something called building levy..This is madness!

  9. The parents will pay fees on time and with a smile but they will be sending their children to schools that are incapacitated and dilapidated. I have taken a tour of the schools in Mash East, there is a very sad story there in terms of infrastructure. The minister will be very popular with parents now, but ten years down the line we will realize how Dokora undid a whole generation of Zimbabweans. Small wonder our government officials are sending their kids abroad.

  10. The old policies that brought about the collapes of Zim are creeping in. This idea of controlling economics does not work, the same people did the price freezes in supermarkets, What happened then?

    It’s sad to see the gains made when MDC joined the Gov vanishing fast. Think about it people, Zanu did nothing for 33 years, MDC joined and roads are getting rehabilitated, schools opened, shops had products, people saved money for the first time in years,

    • @ Ethan, the ZW price freeze was a disaster because of hyper-inflation and using a failed currency; today there is no justification for fees increases since we are using the USD. It is a sensible move, if mdc t had proposed it I would support them.

      • @scotv- Again, I find myself in agreement with you..This madness which visited us during the inflation days has refused to die hence these idiotic school levies and dragon salaries chiefs in the public sector continue paying themselves without shame!

    • If you say “Zanu did nothing for 33 years,…..” you need your head examined wena. Have you been around during the past 33 yrs or you are just parroting MDC rhetoric?

  11. Ultimatums are not the answer..lets engage. How do you square the circle where 90 percent of the same parents wh are alleged to have approved levies fail to pay same? Does this not say there is more to this than meets the eye? Why is the Minister leaving everything to the SDA to run schools..I say set up a fund for teachers incentives and make them uniform..do this by transferring funds from the levy account to the school fees account as a first step, otherwise this wobble waddle will not get us NOWHERE.

  12. School fees in Zim are generally high. We are using hard currency and, therefore, wonder why every term and year the fees are reviewed. Government should pay its workers and this circus ends. The reason behind fee increases is to boost incentives. Our children don’t benefit from the said increases. Last year I visited one boarding school where my son was learning. The diet they had in 2010 was the same 2013 but when proposals for fees increase were suggested, parents were promised heaven on earth for their children. Very few parents follow up to check whether promises were fulfilled.

  13. I am in an SDC committee of a certain school and I tell you by end of term we still had some money in our coffers zvekuti head vange vakutotsaga tusina basa kuitisa mari iyi saka I want to tell most people that this freeze is ok. There are projects we ear mark for the school and with the current setup we know that the levies currently being paid ae enough and we are making the school good, its about priorities chete. Our teachers are having a lot of perks at this school, free acommodaton, electricity and water, so their salaries are net in their pockets. The problem is people who get education allowances from their companies and want to milk the companies whilst workers go unpaid for months.
    We are using us dollars not bearer cheques and the zimdollar menatlity is yet to be removed from us that is why people are crying.

    • Well said. People getting education allowances from companies are fueling unnecessary fees increases. This US$ era. Fees should be stable.

  14. Hats off to the head and team at Nyatsime college for developing the school at a constant fees. The school was going down at a scary pace but since the new head came there is sanity. Parents should work up and make the SDA and other school running committees accountable. Most of these guys running schools are thieves and any opportunity to increase fees suits them well. There is no co-relation between high school fees and good education. There are many parents who think its bling to send children to expensive schools and regret after four wasted years. St faith is not expensive but produces the best of results in the country.US$ is real money and should be put to good use, how can anyone justify a 10 percent increase when deflation is looming.Schools should learn to prioritise instead of just comparing their fees to other schools which have nothing to show for it. FOR THE FIRST TIME GOVERNMENT IS RIGHT.

    • My daughter just finished @ Nyatsime. I tell u i agree with ICHO. Constant fees and constant growth. This is one good school. Good job done.

  15. those in the habbit of watching others struggle with sk fees see thid noble move like a bad thing, its unfortunate that these pple are the very pple who dont believe in sending children to schoool, anyone who has ever paod fees for a child will support this move……..

  16. I salute the government’s idea to freeze school fees increase,chokwadi mari ingabva kupi kana zvikanzi kutanga kwe term kwega mari ye fees yakwidzwa apo sakary haisi kuwedzerwa at times some of us are going for some months without pay.Vana vemangamura ndivo vanenge vowana fundo vega.

  17. Companies are struggling and will not pay fees allowances for ever . Your failure to get a bonus last year and a salary back log of 3 months is testimony enough that the bling life is coming to an end. Most of these guys who applaud at high school fees are benefitting from dying companies. For how long can you milk a dead cow. The economy is dying and we as Zimbabweans need to be realistic. Audit the default rates of school fees in any schools and you will be sorry. Its payment plan after the other, this is usd we need to be realistic. South African economy is better than ours so are their earnings yet their primary and high schools are cheaper than ours.

  18. Chakanaka chakanaka vakomana; mukaka haurungwi munyu. The headmasters are busy stealing the fees for their personal interests. Why should fees be increased when the US dollar is strong? It doesn’t work out that way to punish the poor parents for the failed economy. tiri kungopanichana toga isu varombo ivo vachisekerera; vana vavo vose vari kuenda kuzvikoro zvekunze nukuma university ekunze. Teachers, we belong to the same bracket of the poor. If you can’t do the work please ship out and we will find alternatives for our kids. Mari yamunormaba muchingoti iwedzerwe ye fees ndeyeyi? Cabbage risina mafuta ramuri kubikira vana vedu kuma bording rinoenderana here nematsomondo emari atirikubhadhara? Pasi nemi. Pamberi nehurumende panyaya iyoyi yoga..

  19. We have cowards among us who habour ulterior motives of Gvt colapse due to uprisings. They wish fees could be increased so that parents are burdened and become angry hence very restive.
    Simple facts no inflation whats the justification for fee increases?
    Those who want change of GVT must come out in the open and use other means and not use peoples suffering.
    My experience with headmasters is that even if you double fees, children will continue eating boiled beans and there will not be infrastructure improvement at schools.
    HATS OFF TO GVT FOR THIS NOBLE MOVE!!!!!

  20. thats a noble idea of frezzing school fee. can you extent to development fee and incentives please takuvara tomwe mvura maticha achimwa zvawo uchi nemukaka. apa paholiday extra leasons are waiting for you. this is milking us because of our zeal for our children education

  21. @Samaz- I had a similar experience..The rot is in the regional director’s office who does not supervise the schools but connives for a backhander of course! If the government were to do a proper audit of what is obtaining at these schools half the SDA, regional Education staff and headmasters would be in prison while the other half would be suffering severe cases of obesity and incurable hypertensions

  22. Tinotenda hurumende nedanho iri.Tinoda education for all.Avo varikutsutsumwa vanadzo mari uyezve mawaniro avo mari idzodzo hatiazive.Vamwe vanhu vanofara kuona vana vavo voga vachienda kuchikoro.Dai zvaitobvira primary education should be for free.Tinoda kuti vana vedu vave nedzidzo, asi tikaomeserwa vangadzidze sei.Ikozvino nyika yedu iri pamusoro panyaya dzedzidzo nokuda kwemitemo yehurumende yedu.Tinotoda kuti tumakoreji tuzhinji tunyuke tuchiongororwa nehurumende kuti pasashaye mwana asina chikoro.

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