Government has announced that schools must not increase fees by more than 20% while charging in foreign currency has been deemed illegal. The announcement has come as a welcome relief to most parents who are currently battling to send their children to school amid alarming fees hikes. It has also been labelled an offence for schools to force parents to buy uniforms at selected stores. The announcement was made by the Acting minister of Primary and Secondary education Kirsty Coventry. She said this in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The minister said fees hikes must be agreed upon by parents during properly constituted meetings. She also said,”Our fees currently should comply with Statutory Instrument 121 of 2019 where pricing is done in local currency and this does not give room for rating feed according to the prevailing bank rate since all fees are in local currency”. Most schools especially boarding schools have been increasing school fees to big amounts such as ZWL 10 000 for some mission schools and even more for private ones. Indeed sending a kid to school has become an ardous task for most and the number of kids being withdrawn from school is high.
Most schools have also resorted to selling uniforms at their premises at exhorbitant prices which are beyond the reach of most parents.Minister Coventry attributed the decline in the Grade seven pass rate this year to a combination of factors including a shortage of qualified teachers. It declined from 52.08% last year to 46.9% this year. The education system, just like other sectors like health and food, has been turned to shambles owing to the current economic hardships.