Some parents have raised concern over some schools that have been refusing payments in local currency, demanding the South African rand or the United States dollar. However, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has said schools should accept all currencies and forms of payment that are acceptable as legal tender in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, the Ministry’s director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said no school should deny parents and guardians from using the currency they want to pay in.
He said it is the prerogative of the parent to pay in any currency he or she wishes to pay, be it fees or levies to the school. Those using local currency may also use swipe, EcoCash, among other forms of payment.
“It is the prerogative of the parent to pay in foreign currency, swipe, EcoCash for example using the bank rate. If the school for example pegs the school fees at US$10, the parent has the right to do electronic payment using swipe, mobile money at the prevailing bank rate. Parents are allowed to pay the fees using the prevailing bank rate of the day. That is our regulation,” said Mr Ndoro.
Parents with children attending schools in the Midlands province especially boarding schools are crying foul as some schools are demanding foreign currency for fees, levies and uniforms. At one of the boarding schools, the school is demanding US$360 for uniforms and is not accepting any other currency.
“My child got a Form One place at one of the boarding schools in Kwekwe. The school is demanding US$360 for uniforms.
“For fees it is okay because they are charging $30 000 and that is fair. But for uniforms they are refusing local currency using the prevailing rate,” said the parent on condition of anonymity.
Schools re-opened this month in two steps, starting with the three examination classes Grade 7, Form 4 and Upper Sixth last Monday and the rest of the classes this coming Monday, March 22.
The re-opening is now possible following the fall in Covid-19 infection rates and successful preparations done in all schools to ensure a safe environment.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, had to check that the measures, informed by World Health Organisation guidelines, were in place.