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Zimbabwe Parents Face School Fee Increases Of As Much As 2,000%

Some Zimbabwean schools have increased tuition fees for the term to begin Tuesday by as much as 2,000%, citing economic necessity in the face of inflation that ran at an annual rate of about 2,200% in April. Some parents in response said they would have no choice but to remove their children from their now-unaffordable schools.

Correspondent Babongile Dlamini of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from the second city of Bulawayo that some boarding schools Monday turned away children arriving for lessons in the new term, demanding cash payment up front.

Elsewhere, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said members in the two provinces of Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central have been receiving death threats from suspected state agents and supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party. The union said some teachers might request transfers or delay returning to work.

The union said rising tension ahead of national elections in March 2008 has already gripped the two provinces, both of which are ruling party strongholds.

Progressive Teachers Union General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that because the union is non-political it is telling its members to focus strictly on their duties in the classroom and avoid partisan activities.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...