Dramatic increase of school fees in Zimbabwe

Posted on April 20, 2012 | Category: Politics; Business, Sport

 

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Government schools in Zimbabwe have increased tuition fees and levies with effect from next term citing rising costs of running schools.

Schools like Marondera High have increased fees from US$460 to US$570 per term, while Borrowdale Primary School raised fees from US$200 per term to US$250.

Nyamuzuwe High School increased its fees from US$330 to US$390 for boarders.

Other schools are also demanding backdated levies and tuition fees.

They are demanding first term and second term differences of between US$60 and US$100 per child.

“Why are we being asked to pay the fees backdated to last term?” a disgruntled parent said.

In an interview recently, Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Lazarus Dokora said any fees increased without Government approval were illegal.

“We will not be in a position to know if any school increased fees since our provincial education directors deal with the issues, but there will be no fees increases without Government approval. It would be illegal.”

Deputy Minister Dokora said parents and guardians were allowed to demand from headmasters the approval letters from the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture if in doubt.

“Parents and guardians are entitled to see the approval letter and if it is not there, it means that the school has not been allowed to hike fees,” he said.

Zimbabwe Schools Development Association president Mr Claudio Mutasa said schools cannot increase fees without the consent of parents.

“The normal circumstance is that during an annual general meeting when all parents are present, they submit a budget proposal for the following year and their targets and objectives they want to achieve,” Mr Mutasa said.

He said after consulting with parents and agreeing on levies and tuition fees to be collected per child, the school writes to the provincial education director seeking approval.

“The provincial education director will review and return a certificate of approval or rejection and suggest a reasonable amount.

“It is not in line with educational regulations for schools to collect levies or fees before this approval,” said Mr Mutasa.

Fees last went up in January this year after consultation with parents and were approved by Government.

However, some schools claim they had not increased fees because they were awaiting approval from the Government.

These schools include Roosevelt Girls High School, US$700 for boarding and US$200 for day scholars per term, Mabvuku High — US$55 per term and Morgan High School — US$92 per term and Mount Pleasant US$130 per term.

The Government introduced new school fees regulations in January last year to ensure compliance with existing procedures in raising fees and levies in schools.

Under the new regulations, a majority of parents have to approve at a special meeting an increase in fees or levies and then the minutes have to be sent to the ministry for final approval.

This follows clashes between school heads and school development committee members over the control of finances and schools in general.

The regulations are also meant to cushion parents from exploitation by some schools who ignore regulations and increase fees and levies willy-nilly.

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