HARARE – Government has directed that all schools, including those that fall under the Association of Trust Schools (ATS) must not demand payment of fees in foreign currency.
This comes after a number of schools had pleaded with government to be allowed to charge tuition in United States dollars.
School authorities are adamant that charging fees in stable currencies has become an unavoidable reality in view of the pricing madness obtaining in the country’s economy.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima has, however, poured cold water on the request in circular dispatched to schools on Wednesday.
He said all modes of payment currently obtaining in the country must be accepted, implying that the bond note and the Real Time Gross Settlement System must be exchanged at the same value as the greenback.
Mavhima also nullified the unilateral increase of school fees and levies by both government and ATSs saying such adjustments can only be effected upon approval by the his ministry.
“All modes of payment currently obtaining in Zimbabwe shall be accepted. For the avoidance of doubt, requests by schools for payment in specific currency are not acceptable,” said Mavima in circular Number 6 of 2018.
He referred school authorities to Statutory Instrument 159 A of 2007 which outlines the official requirements for the approval of fees.
The procedure provides that schools that wish to increase fees and levies must submit their application to the secretary for Primary and Secondary Education and an approval has to be received by the schools before any increase is affected.
“So, no school should increase fees without having applied to the secretary and approval is granted,” said the Education minister, while advising schools to submit together with their application current audited accounts, and minutes of a meeting attended by at least 20 percent of the parents to enable the secretary to appreciate the basis upon which the fees and levies are calculated.
On uniforms, the minister said parents shall be allowed to procure the uniforms from the best quotation they can get, while emphasising that government has an obligation to guarantee access to education for all children in line with the Constitution.
Prices of basic commodities and education materials have been spiralling out of control, as the economy’s health continues to deteriorate.
To insulate themselves from the price increases, individuals and companies are now demanding payment in foreign currencies while rejecting the bond note and the RTGS transfers.
Besides schools, teachers and doctors are also demanding to be paid US dollars as their salaries continue to be eroded by skyrocketing prices.