Bank charges relief for schools remitting exam fees
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
SCHOOLS will no longer carry the burden of meeting bank charges when they remit the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) fees after the examinations body undertook to meet the charges.
The development will come as a huge relief to schools.
Some schools inccurred bank charges of as much as $200 000 while Zimsec received their full share of the money, leaving schools with no option but to incur losses.
In a statement via finance circular Number 5 of 2022 and addressed to Zimsec regional managers, heads of Ordinary and Advanced Level examination centres as well as primary schools heads, Zimsec director of finance, Ms Zipora Muzenda said:
“Zimsec has considered the issue of bank charges incurred in remitting examination fees for Zimsec and is accordingly advising that all bank charges will be borne by Zimsec. The examination fees paid should be less the bank charges incurred and should be supported by the bank statement reflecting the same. Therefore the amount payable plus the bank charges should tally with the amount payable on the statement of fees and centres should engage their bankers before the transaction is made,” wrote Ms Muzenda.
National Association of Secondary Schools Heads (Nash) president Mr Arthur Maphosa said the development was a great way forward and a good sign of interaction between critical stakeholders.
“We want to appreciate the sensitivity shown by the examination body, Zimsec towards our plight as schools. We were losing a lot of money in bank charges, money which normally would have gone towards development projects in our stations. We are certain even the School Development Committees (SDCs) will be relieved by this. Our appreciation also goes to the media who gave us a platform to cry out loud and be heard,” said Mr Maphosa who is also the Gwanda High School headmaster.
The latest development comes at a time that parents and guardians are still hopeful of a downward review of the examination fees following a huge outcry that the fees were beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Grade Seven examination fees will be US$30 for all the subjects, Ordinary Level fees were pegged at US$11 per subject for candidates in public, local authority-run, and non-profit-making schools with the Government paying a subsidy of US$24 while those in private schools and colleges shall fork US$24 per subject.
Advanced Level candidates in public and local authority-run schools will pay US$22 per subject with the Government contributing US$26 in subsidy. Private schools and college candidates shall pay US$48 per subject.
All fees can be paid in local currency pegged at the inter bank rate prevailing on July 22 when the payment window opens. Payment of examination fees will run up to July 29 and there shall not be any late payment accepted.
Zimsec is a parastatal in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. It came through an Act of Parliament in 1994 (Zimsec ACT).
Cabinet reached a decision to localise Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations in 1983 with the training of first markers being done the following year in 1984.
The first localised O-level examination was written in 1990 and in 1994 the Zimsec Act was enacted. Completion of the localisation of the Ordinary Level examination was done in 1995, the same year that the Zimsec board was appointed.