Byo school accused of overcharging exam levy

St Bernard’s High School in Bulawayo’s Pumula suburb has come under fire with some parents accusing the school authorities of overcharging the sciences and practical examination levies.

Ordinary and Advanced Level candidates sitting for their practical examinations in science subjects, textile and design technology, music and computer science have to pay between US$25 and US$36 per subject.

However, the school has reportedly inflated the amount by using the parallel market rate for those who pay using the local currency.

In a memo seen by CITE, all science subjects for A and O level and textile and design are pegged at US$25 but those who want to pay using local currency will have to part with ZWL$5000.

Computer Science is pegged at US$24 or ZWL$4 769.05 while the levy for music is US$36 or ZLW$7 200.

Parents who spoke to CITE said it was illegal for the school to use the parallel market rate.

“We were told to pay the money at the school but if you look at this money is too much in our Zimbabwean dollar, which rate is the school using because it’s definitely the black-market rate,” said a parent.

Contacted for a comment the school authorities said the charges came from the supplier.

Khami District Schools Inspector Jane Ndebele said she could not comment as she was off duty.

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry director of Communication and advocacy, Taungana Ndoro said the ministry’s position remains very clear that it is illegal to use the parallel market rate.

“Schools should always use the bank rate of the day the funds are paid,” said Ndoro.

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