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Accept fees in any currency: Govt urges schools

The government has urged authorities at the learning institutions to accept fees payments in whatever currency parents can afford, without having to disadvantage those who do not have access to foreign currency.

This comes at a time when some schools are now exclusively demanding forex while others are insisting on portions of both local and foreign currency citing the ever-weakening of the inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe dollar.

Speaking in the Senate Thursday, Masvingo senator, Tichinani Mavetera asked Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, about the government’s position on the issue.

“What is the government position on payment of fees which is currently obtaining in our schools?” said Mavetera.

“With the opening of schools, most schools have divided school fees payment in local currency and foreign currency. A number of parents may try the local currency portion but fail to get the foreign currency portion because it is not easy to get foreign currency on the official market and they are not remunerated enough to go to the parallel market where it is almost two to three times the official rate.”

He added: “Schools are refusing to accept those students, so what is government policy regarding that?”

In her response, Ndlovu said both forex and local currency should be accepted by schools.

“The policy is very clear that the parents who have got the foreign currency can pay in foreign currency and those with local currency can pay in that currency,” said Ndlovu.

“That is the government’s position. We see on social media, we are worried that some schools have decided to come up with their own policy which is not government policy. We call upon all parents and school heads to make sure that they accept payments in either foreign currency or local currency.”

She said it was illegal for schools to refuse to accept the local currency.

“Illegality is a challenge in this country; I am sure and we are all aware of the issue of the black market; we have been trying as a government to address that issue but schools continue to break the law,” said Ndlovu.

“What we have done is that we have engaged the Anti-Corruption Commission to track all those that are demanding foreign currency payments. We just pray that the Anti-Corruption Commission will do its part to assist us.”

She added: “Mr President, I think you are aware that as a government, we are in trouble in terms of the black market. It is similar to what is happening in schools and I call upon all our people to resist these people who break the law and report them to the Anti-Corruption Commission. I think the Commission can assist us.”

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