Million dollars in fees at private schools

20 Apr, 2022 - 00:04 0 Views
Million dollars in fees at private schools Mr Taungana Ndoro

The Chronicle

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
PARENTS with children in private schools are set to pay more for the second term as some schools have pegged fees at around $1,2 million, adding that a top up may be required during the course of the term.

The second term begins on Tuesday, May 3 and ends on Thursday, August 4.

Some schools have already notified parents and guardians of fees reviews which may be followed by a top-up if need arises.

During the first term, some private schools hiked school fees with the highest charging US$3 000 and transactions with local currencies were pegged using the parallel exchange rate which is against Government policy.

In most cases, parents and guardians who feel fees being charged are ridiculous, choose to suffer in silence, fearful that approaching the ministry will affect their children.

Falcon College in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, has pegged second term fees at $1 290  000 and indicated that all learners should pay up before schools open. Those who pay in local currency may be forced to pay a top-up if there are changes but those who will pay fees in US dollars will not be affected.

Girls College in Bulawayo is charging $460  000 for tuition and $775 000 for boarding, meaning boarders will pay a total of $1 235 000 for the second term.

The school advised parents intending to pay fees in USD to contact the administrator and these figures are exclusive of levies.

Proposed fees for Petra Junior stand at $264 000 and $396 000 for Petra High School.  Dominican Convent is set to announce a proposed fees structure, while Whitestone has asked parents to pay $282 250 as a deposit for the term, a figure which may be altered.

Carmel is still charging US$800, Centenary US$850, Montessori US$600 and US$50 for levy, Amazon charges US$500, Midlands Christian College (MCC) fees range from US$858 to US$1 408 for day scholars, and US$1 624 to US$3 872 for boarders depending on the child’s form.

According to Government policy, all school fees hikes must be approved by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and for private schools by the permanent secretary in particular.

In a letter addressed to parents and guardians, the private schools cited that inflation was making planning difficult hence the proposed figures and likelihood of top-ups during the term.

One of the affected parents, who preferred anonymity, said the hikes were unjustified as there have been no salary increments in most sectors due to economic hardships.

“We understand that they are chasing the parallel rate which is unstable, but some of us have not yet had salary increments and it becomes difficult to keep working out more every term. During the first term, our children were in class for just two months and were expected to pay full fees and ideally these schools were supposed to maintain the fees structure,” she said.

Contacted for comment, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro said non-Government schools which are increasing fees and charging levies without consulting parents or getting permission from the permanent secretary will attract severe penalties.

He said all responsible authorities must ensure they charge approved fees and levies.

“The Permanent Secretary shall not approve any increase of fees or levies sought in respect of the next term of the non-Government school concerned unless the increase of such fees and levies are justified by reference to some basis other than the application of the consumer price index.

Exemption will also be made if the proposal to increase fees or levies has been approved by a majority of the parents at a meeting of the School Parents Assembly attended by not less than twenty percent of the parents,” said Mr Ndoro.

He said this was according to Section 21 of the Education Act (Chapter 25:04): “Any person who contravenes this section of the Education Act or fails to comply with any notice in terms of subsection (5) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine equivalent to the excess amount charged or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

Mr Ndoro said schools that have charged unapproved fees and levies should revert to approved fees and levies and reimburse parents accordingly.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continues to strive to provide quality, relevant, inclusive, equitable and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans.” — @thamamoe

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