Sunday 28 August 2022


Schools charging fees for the third term exclusively in foreign currency face prosecution, as Government has roped in the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to ensure compliance ahead of opening next week.

The crucial third term, that will see Grade 7, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level candidates sitting for their final examinations, opens on September 5, amid an outcry from parents over the charging of fees in forex.

Many primary and secondary schools countrywide, including Government and council-run institutions, have sent circulars indicating they will charge fees exclusively in US dollars, without the option of paying in local currency.

Other schools have demanded that at least half the fees be paid in foreign currency.

Some learning institutions are converting USD fees to local currency using parallel market rates, in breach of the country’s laws.

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.

A survey done by The Sunday Mail shows that a top boys high school in Harare is demanding US$300 for day scholars, without the option of paying in local currency.

In Mutare, a former “Group A” primary school in the border town is demanding US$350 in foreign currency, while a boarding school in Mashonaland East Province has urged parents to pay US$420 without any other option.

A high school in Masvingo Province is demanding 60 percent in foreign currency and the remaining 40 percent in local currency, according to a circular seen by The Sunday Mail.

In an interview, Communications and Advocacy Director in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said the Government was moving in to rectify the situation before schools open.

“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 Commissioner John Makamure said appropriate action will be taken against schools that defy Government.

“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,” he said.

Government does not impose school fees amounts, but in terms of the Education Act, any tuition fees adjustment must be approved by a majority of parents at a meeting of the School Parents Assembly attended by not less than 20 percent of the parents.

School authorities are then supposed to tender an application for an adjustment accompanied by minutes of the meeting and the school budget to the Ministry for processing.

Schools Development Association/Committees secretary, Mr Evaristo Jongwe, said there is a need for schools to comply with the Government directive on use of the USD component.

“Government policy says goods and services can be payable in US dollar or for local currency at prevailing interbank rate. We are urging schools to comply with Government policies and are also looking into the issue to rein in schools that defy the law.” Sunday Mail


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