The recent statement by Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora that parents in rural areas can use goats to pay for school fees is quite laughable and other countries are looking at Zimbabwe scornfully.
Dokora was quoted by State media over the weekend saying parents can offer livestock in lieu of payment of fees or provide labour at school.
While this, at face value, may be seen as empowering rural communities, where cash has always been scarce, the implementation could be nightmarish for schools and there are several unanswered questions.
For example, where would a school keep the goats or cattle after parents have paid the school fees? This would mean the school expending more resources to tend to the animals.
Schools would also be forced to deviate from their core business as they tend to the livestock and there are questions on accountability and transparency.
What can stop a head teacher from saying a goat has gone missing, yet that person would have diverted it to his kraal?
These are the questions authorities have to provide answers for before plunging headlong with this plan, which has been retrieved from the Stone Age.
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Barter has long been seen as an inconvenient way to trade, as it depends on the double coincidence of wants, meaning you have to find someone who wants your goods or services and has the goods or services you also want.
Parents in rural areas have in the past sold their livestock to raise school fees, so why this new proposition?
Schools require money to operate and buy essentials like textbooks in the absence of government support due to dwindling inflows to Treasury.
If all parents were to offer their labour in lieu of fees, how are the same schools supposed to finance their day-to-day operations?
We hope this proposal has nothing to do with next year’s elections.
Zanu PF has failed to deliver on its promises made in 2013 and this new proposal seems like an attempt to curry favour with the rural electorate.
Zanu PF has a history of bending the rules whenever it suits them.
The economic crisis is the elephant in the room and the promise of 2,2 million jobs has remained a mirage.
Faced with a situation of having nothing to offer, the goats as fees seems to be its new selling point.
The current crop of leaders are capable of anything as long as it guarantees their access to the feeding trough.