MOST schools are hiking their tuition fees and levies to enable them to survive the harsh economic climate, the Daily News can report.
The fee increases put a heavy burden on struggling parents and guardians whose earnings are continuously being eroded by the ever-rising cost of living.
As of 2013, the country had nearly 8 200 primary and secondary schools dotted across Zimbabwe.
Their ownership is split between church organisations, government, private and councils, which own nearly 80 percent of the schools.
In terms of existing government policy, all schools – with the exception of those in private hands – must apply to the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for permission to review their tuition and levies.
However, Tumisang Thabela, permanent secretary in the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said the government has not yet received any application for hiking school fees.
“I haven’t received any application from any school. Schools must first apply fees hike to government,” Thabela told the Daily News.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general, Tapson Sibanda confirmed to the Daily News that most of the schools are hiking fees by 100 percent.
“We are aware most of the schools are now increasing fees by up to 100 percent, for instance, most boarding schools are increasing fees from $400 to $1 000,” said Sibanda.
“It’s unfortunate, what is happening is impacting negatively on the poor who don’t have the means to raise money. However, it’s unavoidable considering the situation at schools, – they have to survive. It’s just that our economy is in a bad state. At the end of the day, parents are going to suffer due to school fees hikes.”
Amalgamated Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) secretary-general, Robson Chere cited examples of some schools which hiked fees.
“Most schools held their AGMs this term and approved the fees hikes. Schools such as Arcturus High, Goromonzi and Mandedza schools.
“For example, Goromonzi High’s 2018 levy was around $300 and as of now it’s around $500 and levy and boarding fees will amount to around $1 100.
“A day school like Arcturus increased its fees from $40 to $95 with effect from next term.
“Fees increases at a time when the cost of living is burdening the parents and generally, the majority of Zimbabweans, including the working class is ill-timed and as such will have negative effects like school drop outs, early marriages, increased poverty.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the fees hikes were unjustifiable.
“It’s clearly unacceptable and unjustified. It simply means several teachers will not be able to send their own children to school. Several have also pegged fees in USD meaning it’s difficult for teachers to send their children to such schools.
“It means we are heading for a collision course with the employer.”
Other schools that have increased fees include privately-owned Knowstics Academy in Manicaland Province from $3 200 to $6 100.
The increase was met with disgruntlement among parents who feel that the increase is unjustifiable and they wrote a letter to the school authorities saying the standards at the school are deteriorating.