Some schools in Bulawayo have reportedly increased examination fees for candidates sitting for science subjects in the June Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) Ordinary Level examinations citing the depreciation of the local currency.
At Sobukhazi High School, parents with children sitting were reportedly summoned by the school authorities to come and discuss the way forward after they requested to pay a sum of RTGS$200 in total instead of the initial RTGS$20 for examination material.
Pupils at Mpopoma have reportedly been asked to top up with RTGS$90 for the school to meet costs of materials needed for the science examination.
Parents with children learning at Sizane High School said a meeting was held recently where the school authorities hinted there would be adjustments to the Science exam fees due to inflation.
“The school authorities said they would send letters if there is need for us to pay a top up. However, we haven’t received any letters at the moment,” said a parent with a child who learns at Sizane.
School authorities lamented the constant price hikes of school materials which the initial examination fees charged was no longer sufficient to cover all the costs.
Bulawayo provincial education director, Olica Kaira told CITE that schools can adjust fees if there is a consensus between the two parties.
She said no school authority can adjust fees without following the proper procedure.
“The government is doing the best it can to provide materials for pupils. The new curriculum is very demanding hence there is need for parents to cooperate and assist by paying fees to enable quality results for the pupils,” said Kaira.
“We do understand the struggle that schools go through due to the economic challenges. We also commend the unwavering support which parents have given despite the hardships. They value their children’s education and as such sacrifice to provide for their children.”
Kaira reiterated that whenever such adjustments are made the schools have to follow procedures within the parameters and guidelines of the ministry.
“The situation is not easy for anyone. The new curriculum is very demanding in terms of resources. Schools are doing their best to avail resources. Prices are constantly increasing, the same shops where individuals buy are the same where schools buy,” she said.
Kaira said the ministry is doing it’s best to ensure these changes are transparently documented and forwarded to the ministry’s offices.
“It is important to ensure that parents’ hard earned money is not inappropriately handled in any way. The ministry encourages parents to tirelessly attend meetings when they are called at schools.
“This way, the school and parents can endorse decisions which will ensure positive results for their children,” said Kaira.