Schools, Including Govt And Council-run, Demand Fees Exclusively In USD1 year ago
Some schools across the country are reportedly charging fees for the third term exclusively in foreign currency, contrary to government policy which stipulates that parents and guardians should be allowed to pay fees in either local or foreign currency.
Under the Exchange Control Act and the Bank Use Promotion Act as read with Statutory Instrument 118A of 2022, exclusively charging in foreign currency and pegging prices at parallel market rates is illegal.
However, many primary and secondary schools countrywide, including Government and council-run institutions, have sent circulars indicating they will charge fees exclusively in US dollars.
The schools are not giving parents and guardians the option of paying in local currency.
The Communications and Advocacy Director in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, told State media that they will work with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to ensure that rules are followed ahead of the opening of schools next week. Ndoro said:
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We are aware of what is happening in schools and it is a crisis. However, the policy is clear that fees must be paid in local currency and if parents or guardians have the funds, they can pay in foreign currency.
They should not be forced to pay in foreign currency or coerced to pay using parallel market rates.
So we are taking remedial action and we will be engaging other arms of Government such as ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) to rectify the situation.
ZACC spokesperson John Makamure said appropriate action will be taken against schools that defy Government. He said:
Schools are warned not to flout the laws of the country. The Zimbabwe dollar is legal tender so parents and guardians can choose to pay either in the local currency or USD.
If the ministry has submitted reports of schools doing so they will definitely be looked into so that appropriate action is taken.
Schools Development Association/Committees secretary, Evaristo Jongwe, implored schools to comply with the Government directive on charging fees in US dollars.
The government does not set tuition fees for schools, but in terms of the Education Act, any tuition fee adjustment must be approved by a majority of parents at a meeting of the School Parents Assembly attended by not less than 20 per cent of the parents.
Thereafter, school authorities are obliged to make an application for an adjustment accompanied by minutes of the meeting and the school budget to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for consideration.
More: The Sunday Mail