THE Government has issued a stern warning to all schools that are demanding fees exclusively in US dollars, saying such institutions risk being de-registered as their demands were a violation of the country’s laws.
In an interview yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro said the situation was under control and schools would open smoothly as planned on Monday.
He urged parents to remain calm as the majority of schools were complying with Government directives, except for a few.
Mr. Ndoro said the move by some schools to charge fees in US dollars only goes against the Government’s position and institutions violating the law would face the music.
“Those schools that are charging USD exclusively or refusing the Zimbabwe dollar risk very serious remedial action from Government through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. We have even roped in the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to deal with some of the culprits that may be seen defying Government orders.
“No parent is supposed to be forced to pay fees exclusively in United States dollars except for parents who do have free funds and are willing to use foreign currency to pay fees. Parents are allowed to pay using local currency at the prevailing interbank rate of the day and all schools must accept all forms of currency.”
Mr Ndoro said there were a few schools that were bent on sabotaging the education system and the ministry was treating the matter with the urgency it deserved.
“The schools are actually not many, there are just pockets of schools. Remember we have got over 10 000 schools and most of them comply with Government directives. It is just in a few schools where there is a bit of mischief here and there but that is under control, all of them are being directed to accept Zimbabwe dollars.”
In the aftermath of Covid-19 which disrupted learning for two years, Government says it does not expect any interruptions this term and going ahead.
“It is an examination term and our pupils are ready for their examinations, that is, our Form 4s and Upper Sixes. We expect the national pass rate to increase which will enable us to build our nation brick by brick as we strive to attain Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-class economy,” Mr Ndoro said.
Meanwhile, parents and guardians yesterday were making last-minute preparations to buy uniforms and other school-related materials for their children ahead of the opening of schools on Monday.
“My child is learning at a Government school and I simply transferred money for school fees from my bank account to the school account using the prevailing interbank rate. Those who are crying are those who send their children to private schools which are demanding foreign currency,” Ms Chipo Nyakurwa of Ruwa, who was shopping in the Harare central business district (CBD), said.
This week has been characterised by a hive of activity in the CBD but shop owners have hiked prices of uniforms to cash in on last-minute shopping by parents and guardians.
Parents who spoke to The Herald expressed concern over the price hike of some products saying they were not in tandem with the prevailing stable market conditions. They said they were also finding it difficult to raise sufficient school fees before the opening of schools.
Ms Loice Mupambi of Kuwadzana suburb expressed concern over shop owners who are hiking prices of school material.
“We have been told to pay the previous term’s fees. The school is currently waiting for Government to approve the new proposed fees, so I have no complaints. However, most shop owners have all of a sudden hiked uniform prices which is really bad”. – Herald