Elite schools demand second term fees

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SOME private-elite schools in Harare are demanding that parents pay second term fees even if schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The schools have also pegged their fees in United States dollars after government lifted the ban on the use of foreign currency for local transactions during the COVID-19 period.

Heritage, St Johns and Peter House have already written to parents notifying them of the need to pay the fees for the second term whose opening is still in doubt after government announced a further 14-day lockdown period starting Monday, at a time schools were supposed to officially open.

Parents are expected to pay fees even if schools do not open as scheduled on May 5, with St Johns saying there are fixed costs that need to be paid whether or not schools are open.

“From a financial perspective our schools continue to incur fixed costs, whether the schools are fully open with students attending school or in providing remote and online teaching, for that reason your board has decided to raise at this stage an interim deposit to meet these fixed costs for the Trinity term,” reads part of the letter from St Johns dated April 27.

“This deposit covers the cost of ensuring that the academic online and remote teaching operation will be in place for the full term.”

St Johns have pegged their termly fees at USD$ 1 650 or $99 000 for High School and $1 500 or $90 000 for secondary school pupils. ECD pupils will pay US$$900 or $54 000.

In a letter dated April 20, Heritage also issued a circular for the second term fees, to be paid in hard currency ranging from $1 650 for its lower and upper six formers, and US$950 for pre-school.

Peter House, in a letter dated April 20, resolved not to increase fees, but demanded parents to pay a deposit for the second term “to cover the fixed costs of running of three schools for the next four months.”

NewsDay failed to get a comment from the schools as their phones went unanswered, but some parents admitted having been served with the notices.