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OUTRAGE OVER FOREX SCHOOL FEES newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe


PARENTS have expressed concern over a decision by some
schools to peg half of their school fees in foreign currency, mainly the United
States dollar (US$).

Schools open on September 3, 2022 for the third term and
most schools now want fees paid in foreign currency.

Some parents, who spoke to NewsDay on condition of
anonymity, said the decision was brutal given that their salaries were paid in
local currency and they had no access to foreign currency.

Parents also feel that educational standards have fallen to
the extent that they are no longer commensurate with foreign currency fees.

Schools such as Mtshabezi, David Livingstone, Wanezi,
Tsholotsho and George Silundika High in Matabeleland and other schools in
different parts of the country have sent notices to parents demanding that half
of the school fees must be paid in foreign currency.

“We have started paying half of the fees in forex, but we
were not consulted as parents,’’ a parent told NewsDay.

Another parent of a student at Wanezi Mission said they
were issued notices to pay half of next term’s fees in foreign currency.

David Livingstone High School is said to have pegged its
fees at US$720 or its equivalent using the interbank rate.

A few parents supported the USD fees, saying inflation was
quickly eroding fees, a situation that resulted in children at boarding schools
going hungry.

National Association of Schools Development Committee
chairperson Max Mkandla encouraged parents and school authorities to engage
before such decisions are made to avoid disputes.

“Such decisions should match with service delivery, we have
seen some schools that have taken such decisions, but they are producing poor
pass rates. This then raises issues of accountability,” Mkandla said.

In Parliament last Wednesday, Mbizo legislator Settlement
Chikwinya (CCC) demanded a statement from Primary and Secondary Education
minister Evelyn Ndlovu over allegations that her ministry has allowed schools
to charge fees in United States dollars at a time when civil servants are
earning below the poverty datum line.

“Some schools are refusing RTGS, and want the whole amount
to be paid in US dollars.  If there is no
clear policy regarding the payment of fees, we will face problems on the day
schools open,” Chikwinya said.

Ndlovu is yet to issue a ministerial statement on the
matter.

Parents in Harare told NewsDay that very few of them were
able to access US$ to pay fees.

Zimbabwe Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi
Majoni said: “As school authorities we encourage government to allow schools to
charge US$ fees because the local currency is difficult to use for planning
purposes. It gets weaker every day,” Majoni said.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson
Taungana Ndoro said no school should force parents to pay fees in foreign
currency.

“The policy position is that fees must be paid in local
currency. However, if parents have free funds in forex, they can pay at the
prevailing interbank rate. No school should force any parent to pay in forex,”
Ndoro said.

He said all fees should be approved by the ministry.
Newsday




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