Elite Byo school in shock fees demand

Some parents with children at Masiyephambili Junior School in Bulawayo have accused the learning institution of currency manipulation after it pegged school fees using the parallel exchange rate. 

The parents told CITE that the private learning institute is charging $900 per term or alternatively ZWL$180 000. 

The issue comes a few days after RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya issued a statement warning several institutions of manipulating the foreign currency exchange rate, particularly schools and pharmacies. 

Currently, the official exchange rate stands at US$1:ZWL$108.66 which would translate the school’s fees to at least ZWL$97 794. 

Parents who spoke to CITE on condition of anonymity noted they were saddened that the school would charge fees at parallel exchange rate considering that the government had warned against such conduct. 

“The school has decided to charge school fees using parallel market rate and as a parent, I find it unfair. I know l am supposed to take my children to schools l can afford but unfortunately, the affordable ones are government schools of which right now we all know their condition,” said one parent. 

Another parent said, “My child is in ECD. The fees went from $450 last year to $750 this year.  Initially, they had said the local currency equivalent is ZWL$70 000. When I went to make the payment they said it was now ZWL$144 000. I asked to settle the outstanding ZWL$74 000 in USD but they refused. They said they do not mix currencies. Honestly, their rate is absurd.” 

An official at the school said she was not in a position to comment on the issue.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communication and advocacy, Taungana Ndoro, said the use of parallel exchange rate is illegal and schools which will be found wanting will be dealt with. 

“As the government, we do not acknowledge the parallel exchange rate. We encourage all schools to adhere to government regulations. Any school that therefore uses the parallel rate would be in violation of the law and should be reported so that remedial action can be taken,” said Ndoro. 

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