HomeLocal NewsSchools demand 100% fees top-up

Schools demand 100% fees top-up

-

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
SCHOOLS are demanding top-ups of up to 100% for second term fees saying their budgets had been wiped out by inflation and ever-increasing operational costs.

Schools opened on May 3 for the second term and close on August 4.

At the beginning of the first term, boarding schools had pegged their fees at between $50 000 and $80 000, while day schools were charging at least $4 000.

But several schools have called for meetings starting Saturday to deliberate on fees top-ups, while others have already sent top-up demand letters to parents.

In a letter dated June 12, 2021 addressed to parents and guardians, the head of Hartzell High School in Mutare, Shorwi Kawadza said the institution was facing food stock-outs.

“Given the current food stocks, I write to inform you that the school will not be able to feed the learners beyond Wednesday June 22, 2022,” Kawadza wrote.

The school had pegged its fee at $55 000 for the second term.

“If we cannot restock our food stocks, I will not be able to keep the children at school, hence I will ask you to collect our learners from school. Therefore, together we should find a solution,” Kawadza added.

A NewsDay snap survey revealed that some boarding schools had altered their diets in line with available funds.

Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said: “We are experiencing a disaster, especially at boarding schools. Schools did their budgets when the inflation rate was fairly stable. But now spiking inflation has gobbled up funds leaving the school bankrupt. The challenge is that they can’t unilaterally decide to top up the fees. They need to seek approval from the ministry which may take ages to respond.”

Prices of basic commodities have risen sharply since April, with the country’s year-on-year inflation going up to 131,7% in May from 96,4% in April.

Efforts to get a comment from Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu were in vain as she was said to be in a meeting.

Ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro’s phone was not reachable.

The latest survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said about 74% parents and guardians can no longer afford paying school fees, with only 26% able to meet educational expenses for their children.

Teachers’ representatives who spoke to NewsDay said while schools were justified to demand top-ups, parents were already struggling to make ends meet under the prevailing harsh economic climate.

“School are battling to stay afloat under the hyperinflationary environment. The fees that have been paid by parents have been wiped out by inflation,” Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said earlier on before his arrest yesterday.

“We are almost on the verge of going back to the 2008 era. Schools are demanding top-ups, but they are demanding top-ups from the same parents who have gone for months without getting salary increments from their employer, the government.”

  • Follow Miriam on Twitter

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading