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As Schools Open, Zimbabwe Parents Complain of Fee Hikes

Zimbabwe's Education Minister David Coltart has threatened schools with unspecified action if they continue to raise fees and levies unrealistically without consulting and agreeing with parents on the way forward.

Most government-run boarding and day schools as well as private ones applied to the state to increase their fees and levies but were turned down. Nevertheless, they went ahead, raising the ire of cash-strapped parents.

Some schools are reported to have raised fees by $50, while some by as much as $100, leading to a chorus of complaints.

Coltart told VOA while the government is still failing to adequately fund the education sector, schools should not use this as an excuse to hike fees.

“I am urging parents who are not satisfied with the fees levied at their schools to contact my Ministry so that investigations can be carried out to ensure that amounts charged are Government sanctioned, “ said Coltart.

He said parents can also contact him using social media like Twitter, Facebook or by calling his offices directly, although critics have complained of the red tape hampering direct communication with the minister.

Zvavamwe Chambare, a parent and chairman of Montrose Girls High School Development Association in Bulawayo, said parents are worried about incessant school fee increases.

He urged the government to subsidize fees using returns from the country’s abundant natural resources.

Ambrose Sibindi, organizing secretary of the Progressive Bulawayo Residents Association, said the country's Basic Education Assistance Module meant to assist disadvantaged children should assist the needy.

He said the scheme was failing to rise to the occasion because it was poorly managed.