‘75% likely to be unable to pay school fees’

A RECENT survey on Zimbabwean households has shown that about 75% of households, who participated in the study said they were likely to be unable to pay school fees, as the economic situation deteriorated.

By Phyllis Mbanje

This was revealed by the executive director of the Poverty Reduction Forum (PRF) Judith Kaulem, who said a basic needs basket (BNB) survey conducted for the month of July showed accessibility of services such as education by urban dwellers continued to dwindle.

Kaulem attributed the continued floundering poverty levels to failure of the ruling party’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social and Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) to produce the desired results to eradicate poverty.

“Around 75% of the households who participated in the survey reflected that they were more unable to pay school fees,” Kaulem said.

Shingirayi primary school children in Mbare could not hide their smiles during break time on the first day of the first term yesterday
“This situation is posing challenges to the implementation of poverty reduction programmes and the realisation of the social and economic rights.”

The survey said the rate of loss of economic opportunities in the urban towns was further accelerating the inaccessibility of social services such as education.

The BNB survey tool is used to generate regular and reliable statistical and qualitative information of the basic cost of living for ordinary residents in specific locations.

The situation is bound to be worse following the numerous job losses triggered by the High Court ruling on common law provisions of terminating contracts on three months’ notice.

From the survey, 15% of the respondents pointed out that some “O” and “A” level students as far back as 2013 have not received their results due to failure to clear outstanding fees. Some students failed to even sit for any exams due to failure to raise the examination fees.

“Those that have their certificates are struggling to pursue tertiary education because of failure to raise the required fees,” the director said.

Chipadze Secondary school, a council school in Bindura, was said to have gone to the extent of engaging debt collectors in order to collect school fees.

This has made it unsustainable to run a school when many parents are defaulting on fee payments.

According to the Zimsec statistics, 20.09% less students sat for the June 2015 “O” level examinations, a decline of 20 338 from 101 471 students who registered at the same time last year.

“This is indicative of the failure to secure adequate funds as well as the demoralisation among both parents and students emanating from the seemingly absence of any economic benefit from acquiring an academic qualification,” Kaulem said.

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2 Comments

  1. As long as there is this free for all charging of so-called levies by SDAs and their thieving headmasters the chickens are going t o come home to roost. Somebody explain to me why government schools in the same locality charge different levies some as high as 200 dollars per term in addition to the fees without the Minister raising an eyelid? Is the Minister quietly cashing in on this madness? How come his officers blindly approve these usurous levies? One boarding school in Chinhoyi is asking forsomething called special vehicle levy which is meant to buy a vehicle for the headmaster..and this was approved by some mandarin at the Ministry who obviously must be getting a cool backhander for approving this nonsense. And where is the local MP in all this..Why should the local MP and DA sit as ex officio members of these SDAs? IF ANYBODY NEEDS TO BE FIRED BEFORE SCHOOLS OPEN IT IS THAT CLUELESS EDUCATION MINISTER! People are being fired and schools are increasing fees..how much sense does this make to the Minister?

  2. As long as there is this free for all charging of so-called levies by SDAs and their thieving headmasters the chickens are going t o come home to roost. Somebody explain to me why government schools in the same locality charge different levies some as high as 200 dollars per term in addition to the fees without the Minister raising an eyelid? Is the Minister quietly cashing in on this madness? How come his officers blindly approve these usurous levies? One boarding school in Chinhoyi is asking for something called special vehicle levy which is meant to buy a vehicle for the headmaster..and this was approved by some mandarin at the Ministry who obviously must be getting a cool backhander for approving this nonsense. And where is the local MP in all this..Why should the local MP and DA sit as ex officio members of these SDAs? IF ANYBODY NEEDS TO BE FIRED BEFORE SCHOOLS OPEN IT IS THAT CLUELESS EDUCATION MINISTER! People are being fired and schools are increasing fees..how much sense does this make to the Minister? Does he even care? Or maybe he simply does not have a clue what is expected of him in that portfolio and he is praying ceaselessly for the president to kick him into the street..I hope the president hears this guy’s prayers and send him off to pasture…at least he has shown that he deserves no less. I hope the president will this once be charitable and re-depoly this guy or at least fire him! He has been screaming for this everyday….Please sir, hear this poor guy’s pleas..he has done his best and he simpl can not go on in this portfolio. It has taxed him way BEYOND his capacity…Please.

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