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Govt to Crack Whip on Schools Demanding Fees in Foreign Currency

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

Government will not allow any school to charge fees in foreign currency and has assured parents to protect them from such ‘errant’ learning institutions.

Addressing the media in Harare Friday, Acting Education Minister Kirsty Coventry also ordered school heads who are withholding Grade 7 results because a child owes fees, to release the results immediately.

“The payment of fees and levies shall be made only in Zimbabwe dollars. For the avoidance of doubt, requests by schools for payment in specific currency are not acceptable,” she told the media.

She advised schools that intended to increase fees and levies to submit their applications to the permanent secretary for education and the increases will be paid only upon approval from the ministry.

“In order for the (permanent) secretary to appreciate the basis upon which the fees and levies are calculated, schools need to submit, together with their application current audited accounts, minutes of a properly constituted meeting of no less than 20% of the School Parent Assembly and proposed budget,” the minister said.

However, a survey carried out by this publication shows that most schools, especially those with boarding facilities, are disregarding the government’s directive and are pegging fees for 2020 in US$ or using the equivalent inter-bank exchange rate.

Meanwhile, Coventry has also ordered all schools that are withholding Grade 7 results for pupils with outstanding arrears to release the results immediately.

“The ministry’s position is that education is the inalienable right of every child, while the charging of fees and levies is provided for by a Statutory Instrument, the responsibility for the payment for the fees is with the parent or guardian.”

“Heads of schools are directed to release any results that they may be withholding to enable the learners to proceed with their education without hindrance. Disregarding the directives given will have adverse consequences.”