HomeNewsNo to US$ school fees: Govt

No to US$ school fees: Govt

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GOVERNMENT has given schools the greenlight to increase levies and boarding fees to cushion them from inflation-induced price hikes, but turned down the request by some schools to charge in hard currency.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Briefing teachers’ unions last Friday, Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela said government had approved the fees hike.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said Thabela had informed the union leadership that government, which initially requested for applications for fee increases from schools, accompanied by audited accounts, had approved the increases.

“It is sad that while salaries are not being increased, government has approved the school fees hike. How does it expect us to pay these exorbitant amounts? We have school uniforms going as high as $800 and then school fees as high as $2 500. It is ridiculous to say the least,” Zhou said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure described the hikes as sad news.

“We are coming from a meeting with the new permanent secretary. She broke the sad news that government had approved the school fees hike. It’s sad,” Masaraure said.

Many schools had issued circulars advising parents of the pending fees hikes in response to the country’s runaway inflation, which has seen prices of basic commodities increasing, sometimes three-fold.

Private schools had also hiked fees, citing the increase in running costs, while others are demanding US dollars for levies.

Schools such as Masaisai Primary School in Harare have increased fees from $700 to $950, while Bryanston Pre-School in central Harare has given parents an option to pay in either bond notes or US dollars.

Those paying in US dollars are expected to fork out $265, which translates to about $800 in bond notes.

According to Statutory Instrument (SI) 1597A of 2007, government-controlled schools have to seek approval from the parent ministry before hiking fees.

The law states that the request should indicate the basis upon which the levies are calculated and justification. The request is supposed to be accompanied by current audited accounts, minutes of a properly constituted meeting of not less than 20% of the school parents’ assembly which approved the proposed budget.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima and Thabela were unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. we need one law which covers all schools operating withing our borders not this dogs breakfast kind of set up were government administered schools are under a leash and private schools are allowed to do whatever they wish this is total lawlessness in a country

    • You are the same people who go around saying Govt has no business in Business, now you want it to regulate fees paid at private schools? No one forces anyone to take their children (or themselves) to private schools. In the same breath, i commend Govt for turning down the request by schools to charge fees in foreign currency – re-dollarization will stifle business growth.

      • when were teachers’ salaries frozen? Uri kunyora zvaunoziva here iwe kana kuti waipfura maTeacher nerekeni?

    • Thats nonsense at its worst whose salary has be increased to counter the increment of school fees , desperate government

  2. Government struck a balance between the increasing costs of running schools and the need to ensure that fees are not increasing beyond the reach of many. While the teachers have concerns, it is deceitful of them to seek to use the school fees increases to push their demands for salary increases against a background of a struggling economy. The decision to bar denominating fees in United States Dollars is spot on. Government, which is the biggest employer in the country, does not and cannot pay in forex,as it does not have enough of it to cover essential needs such as medical drugs, fuel and other pressing needs.

  3. Government struck a balance between meeting the needs of schools whose operating costs have gone up and the parents who have to contend with arbitrarily-increasing prices. It would be unfair for schools to charge school fees in USD when Civil servants, who form the majority of Zimbabwe’s workforce, are not paid in that currency.

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