Government still to approve school fees hikes

With back to school preparations underway, parents remain unclear on the fees structure at schools this term, with school authorities proposing hikes that could make fees unaffordable for many.
It is less than a week before schools open and the majority of parents are still not sure of the school fees they will be required to pay, as a number of schools are pushing for fee increases without formal approval from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“We are not even sure on the amounts of fees needed and some of these schools are asking fees which are beyond the reach many,” said one parent.
The Principal Director of Primary, Secondary and Non-formal Education, Peter Muzawazi said the ministry is in the process of assessing applications by schools to increase fees.
“We are still receiving applications from schools and we are in the process of assessing the forms so that we come up with a proper subsidy,”
However, while the matter of new fees is now something set to be cleared by government and school authorities, parents have not been distracted from preparing for the new school term by the unclear school fees circumstances.
The government is on record saying schools should not increase fees by more than 20 percent without government approval, while charging in foreign currency is illegal. This was said recently by the then Acting Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Kirsty Coventry who noted that it is also an offence for schools to sell uniforms or force parents to buy them at selected stores.
However, some government and mission boarding schools have already increased fees beyond the 20 percent, especially for pupils starting Form One, with some charging between ZWL$10 000 and ZWL$12 000. Some elite private schools are charging their fees in foreign currency or in local currency at the prevailing inter-bank rate. This had seen some schools charging fees as high as ZWL$90 000.