Zim Govt Approves 33 percent School Fees Hike
The Zimbabwean Government has approved a 33% school fees hike through a pro- rata system to cover for the extra days of the term, as schools open for the new term tomorrow.
According to the published school calendar, the school term will run for 80 days. Thats 20 days more than the usual term which is normally 60 days, prompting the government to charge the school fee on a pro rata basis.
“The average length of each term is about 60 days but the second and final session will be 80 days. The fees and levies for the second and final session 2021 will be charged on a pro rata basis given by the number of days in the final session divided by average number of days in a term, multiplied by approved fees and levies for each term,” reads the government circular to schools.
However, we have noted that the pro-rata system is likely to breed confusion since the government decided to open class for non-exam classes a week after the exam classes. This effectively means examination classes have an extra 20 days whilst non-examination classes have an extra 15 days. Based on the pro-rata system, this would translate to a 33% fees hike for examination class and 25% for non-examination classes. However, that is not so, as the government is imposing 33% universally as if all classes are having the same extra 20 days.
Director of Advocacy and Communication in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro clarified the issue saying the emphasis was on the schools using figures that had been approved by the Ministry in factoring in the extra charge.
“The catch in this issue is that the schools cannot just come up with their own figure to factor in the pro rata formula but they use figures which have already been approved before hand for the second term. Parents should not view this as a fees increment at all, but they will be paying for those extra 20 days,” said Mr Ndoro.
“So far everything is going on well, yes we are not at 100 percent but we are getting there, we have provided psycho-social support to the students, teachers and parents during these times, emphasizing on the need for education to have to go ahead albeit in the new normal. For now we call on parents to also play their part through the purchasing of face masks as part of the school uniform. As Government we are also coming in, working with our development partners, in the provision of Personal Protective Equipment like sanitisers,” said Mr Ndoro.
According to the circular by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Tumisang Thabela, non-examination classes will attend classes on alternating days as a way of decongestion, but examination classes have to attend on a daily basis.
“Schools are obliged to ensure decongestion, where necessary, by arranging that learners attend school on alternate days and in sessions for mega schools. Examination classes have to attend every day. They should ensure that Personal Protective Equipment is in place and in adequate quantities, conduct refresher training sessions for deputy heads, school health coordinators and teachers and conduct regular Covid-19 awareness sessions for everyone in the school, including School Parents Assemblies,” reads the circular.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education also recommended that the Tariffs and Competitions Committee should ensure that schools affiliated to the Association of Trust School (ATS) desist from fees structures which are believed to be influenced by the illegal black market foreign currency exchange rate.