Private schools demand third term fees

Private schools in Bulawayo continue to demand school fees from parents despite government deferring the opening of schools due the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The government has previously warned private schools from demanding school fees since schools prematurely closed in March after the country went on lockdown.

Some private schools made parents pay fees for the second term arguing that they were still offering lessons albeit virtually.

The government recently deferred the reopening of schools which was scheduled for July 28 owing to the steep increase of Covid-19 cases.

This has not stopped schools such as Whitestone Primary School in Bulawayo from demanding fees for the third term.

A circular from the school seen by CITE informed parents to pay a deposit for the third term by August 3.

“Grade 0 classes ECD A are expected to pay a deposit of ZWL$37 500, ECD B ZWL$46 250, Grade 1 – 6 ZWL$65 000 and Grade 7 ZWL$97 500,” read the email. 

The school authorities explained to the parents that the institution was facing hardships from maintaining the school infrastructure and paying staff.

“The buzz word was “Online Education”. The reality was that it was not as simple as it sounded and very few formal schools were adequately equipped and trained for this. However, Whitestone School responded positively to this challenge and very quickly began to master the techniques on distance teaching,” the school noted. 

“It has been a tough and interesting journey and many hard lessons have been learnt on the way. Following the true spirit of Whitestone tradition, we will continue to develop and improve and will take whatever steps are necessary to continue to offer the high standards of education that we always do.”

The school, through the email, further stated that a board meeting held online on July 20 approved the institution’s finances and proposed costs for the term ahead.

“Whitestone School request parents to pay a deposit towards the third term’s costs to cover the fixed costs of running Whitestone School; in particular to preserve the grounds and buildings, to pay staff and to fund the provision of education via the internet, work packs and other forms of communication which may be used to educate your children at home, until such time as schools re-open,” the school explained. 

“The expenses of equipment and chemicals to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as well as meeting the Ministry of Health requirements to reopen the schools also need to be considered.” 

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