Schools that charge fees in foreign currency will face disciplinary measures, the government has warned.
This also goes for schools that force parents to give teachers incentives in forex.
However, quite a number of schools across the country are charging in foreign currency, prompting some to ask what investigations these aim to unravel since this is already happening.
In a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare Wednesday, Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the government was concerned that schools are charging fees in foreign currency.
“Government is concerned about those schools and teachers that are demanding payment in foreign currency and will institute disciplinary measures where this is found to be true,” he said.
Ndlovu acknowledged that generally, the country was in a multi-currency setup where fees could be paid in all currencies but those schools that were now charging specifically in foreign currency would be investigated.
“There are schools that say, ‘you have to pay such an amount for you to come to school,’ this is what the government would be investigating through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education because there is no such policy from the government that students are compelled to pay in foreign currency,” he noted.
The schools that are found to be on the wrong side of the law and policy would be penalised accordingly, the acting information minister added.
“So, in terms of how many schools are doing it, I think it is prudent to allow the investigations to take place. The ministry has indicated that they have already started the process, I can promise you that we will be getting an indication of the progress when cabinet meets next week,” Ndlovu said
“So we are quite concerned about this, it is not government policy and we want to make sure parents and learners alike are protected.”
Another cabinet minister, July Moyo who heads the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry added that it was also worrisome that teachers were demanding to be paid incentives in foreign currency by parents.
“Another aspect worrisome to both the Ministry of Education and the government are schools and teachers who are now demanding that teachers should be paid an incentive in foreign currency. Those schools are wanting to charge extra school fees in foreign currency, as a way of giving an incentive to the teachers,” he remarked.
Moyo underlined that according to the position of the education ministry and the government, such a practice was not allowed.
“This will also be investigated and measures will be taken so that we don’t charge extra than school fees to parents in order to give incentives to teachers,” said the cabinet minister.
Meanwhile, according to the post-Cabinet brief, attendance in schools has continued to increase as currently, teacher attendance stands at 96 percent while for learners it is at 94.7 percent.
In relation to Covid-19 during the schools’ first term, there was an increase of infections for the week under review as cases rose to 606 compared to 517 recorded previously.
The majority of the infected learners who numbered 422 were day scholars, which the acting information minister said was indicative that infections came from the communities.