Byo school accused of fleecing desperate parents

Coghlan Primary School in Bulawayo has been accused of fleecing desperate parents seeking admission places the 2023 Early Childhood Development (ECD A) by charging exorbitant fees.

Disgruntled parents who spoke to CITE said the government school was demanding US$55 and were not accepting the local currency.

Since 2004, Zimbabwe has had a national ECD  policy which requires primary schools to offer a minimum of two ECD classes for children from 3 to 5 years old.

“Coghlan Primary School is demanding US$55 from parents to offer 2023 ECD A places to children,” said one parent.

Another parent complained, “They are not accepting local currency and parents were not given receipts as proof of payments.”

When CITE visited the school, the school authorities who did not want to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media however dismissed the allegations saying parents were given the opportunity to pay in the currency of their choice.

“I thought they were being issued receipts because by virtue of procedure the enrolment form goes with the receipt taken to class so that the teacher records the receipt number. They have been invited to come for form completion and submission on the 12th of December, they will be given ED12 forms, those are the forms they take to relevant classes. The receipts are attached on their ED12 forms,” said the school authority.

They said the school has two receipts books, the RTGS receipt book and foreign currency receipt book.

“The US$55 covers for the 2023 levy and first-term feeding which is US$5. The issue of them paying in USD, they were given a choice to pay in bond at the prevailing interbank rate, some even requested to pay in USD because our budget was approved in both USD and bond.”

The authorities also went on to show the reporter the scheduled meetings with parents where further engagements would take place.

“Parents meeting is on 18 November 2022, for submission requirements the date is 25 November 2022, Enrolment form completion and submission is 12 December 2022 while the ECD A 2023 orientation will be held at the school hall on 6 January 2023,” the note read.

Contacted for a comment, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Director of Communications and Advocacy, Taungana Ndoro said it is illegal for schools not to issue receipts.

“That is illegal, parents are supposed to get receipts for any amount of payment that they pay at any school, if they don’t get receipts then that is an underhand deal and as a Ministry, we will have to look into that because that is illegal,” said Ndoro.

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