STUDENTS seeking to register for the 2020 June and November Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council final examinations in Chiredzi are reportedly being forced to pay in cash, exposing them to the risk of contracting coronavirus by handling paper money.
By Garikai Mafirakureva
Parents who spoke to NewsDay said the practice was rampant at Chiredzi Government High School, where money dealers had set up base at the nearby shopping centre selling cash to panic-stricken students.
“They are saying their swipe machine is down, but for those who could swipe for their examination fees, the school is demanding strictly $200 cash for stationery. This has put our children, who are being compelled to venture out, at risk of being exploited by those selling cash because in order to get $200, they have to part with $280. This also puts them in danger of contracting COVID-19,” a parent said, adding that staff at the school was also selling the cash on the black market.
Deputy head Victor Zvada said they started demanding cash after the school’s swiping machine broke down.
“Yes, we have had a challenge with one of our swipe machines, so we were forced to look a better devil, that is why we asked them to look for cash for them to register and beat the deadline. We even explained that to the district schools inspector (DSI),” Zvada said.
Chiredzi DSI Petronella Nyangwe confirmed receiving the report.
“Yes, I have received such complaints from parents and immediately called the school. The issue was solved amicably. On the issue of demanding cash for stationery, I have to make investigations on it,” she said.
Acting district medical officer David Tarumbwa urged school authorities to adhere to the Health ministry and World Health Organisation guidelines on preventive measures for coronavirus.
“The use of paper money and coins is discouraged as they also aid in the spread of COVID-19,” he said.