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The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Torerayi Moyo on Monday, 18 December gazetted tuition fees for Government schools for 2024.
According to The Herald, tuition fees for primary schools for next year range from US$5 a term for P3 rural schools, US$10 a term for P2 schools in high-density suburbs and US$20 a term for P1 low-density suburban schools.
The tuition fees are set in US dollars but parents and guardians can pay in local currency at the exchange rate on the date of payment for Zimbabwean learners.
For secondary schools, the tuition fees for S1 schools in low-density suburbs were set at US$40 a term, for S2 schools in high-density suburbs at US$20 a term, and S3 schools in rural areas at US$10 a term.
The tuition fees for next year are contained in Statutory Instrument 240 of 2023, Education (Tuition and Boarding Fees) (Government Schools) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 1).
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Besides the gazetted tuition fees, and the expanded BEAM programme for learners from poor families, many public schools seek a top-up levy from parents through the school development associations (SDAs).
This is allowed, but most parents have to agree and the Ministry has to approve the charges.
Meanwhile, schools charge far more than the gazetted fees and school authorities have over the years devised ways to raise funds from parents.
These “innovative” ways include forcing parents and guardians to buy uniforms only from the school at exorbitant prices, and also organising trips and making learners pay more than the cost of the trip, among others.
In January 2023, a father of 2 minor children engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to compel the Goromonzi High School headmaster to accept the learners after he had barred them from the school for buying uniforms from shops instead of buying them from the school.
The Government has repeatedly warned schools against the practice but it hasn’t taken action to ensure that parents and guardians are not being exploited by unscrupulous school authorities.