Harare (New Ziana)-The government barred all public primary and secondary schools on Thursday from increasing tuition fees following an outcry by parents over proposed fee hikes.
Schools open for the first term of 2020 on Tuesday next week amid astronomical fee hikes by virtually all schools across the country.
But government has intervened by barring all public schools from raising tuition fees.
Acting Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Amon Murwira said schools could however seek government approval to raise other fees such as levies and boarding fees.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to confirm that there will be no tuition fee increases in public schools,” he said.
“Anyone found transgressing this directive will face disciplinary action.”
Asked whether schools would be able to cover operating costs in an inflationary environment, Murwira said government would provide necessary financial support.
“We must also know that the Ministry of primary and secondary education has a budget of ZWL$8 billion, the tuition fees are going to move towards helping this but they are not the complete solution,” he said.
“It is important to note that public schools are not only funded from tuition fees, they are funded from the taxpayer and they are funded from treasury allocations. When we say we are not going to allow increases it means if there is a gap there is a way we are going to fill it.”
For boarding schools, Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela said parents and school authorities would decide the amount of money to be charged as boarding fees.
“There is a secretary’s circular which all schools have access to and that circular stipulates how parents meet, look at their expenses, look at their own surroundings and agree on a fee that they think can feed their children and once they have done that they then send it to the Ministry for approval.
“That circular stipulates that they have to send their audited statements so that government is assured that money has been used correctly before hand, they have to show us that in the parents assembly there was more than 20 percent of parents who were attending that meeting. It also has to assure us that the register of those parents is attached and is an authentic register and once our team looks at it and is convinced that this is a fair request then approval is done by the ministry,” she said.
On private schools, Murwira said government was aware that some were charging in foreign currency.
“Government has also learnt that some private schools are charging directly or indirectly in forex. Responsible authorities of such schools are warned that they risk de-registration of such schools,” he said.