A number of Zimbabwean state-run and private primary and secondary schools have asked the Ministry of Education for permission to increase tuition fees and levies next year by 40 percent or more, alarming financially strapped parents.
Sources said state schools want to boost fees for day students from US$160 to US$180, and increase boarding fees to US$585 from US$560 a term.
Some private schools have applied to raise boarding fees by US$25 to US$395.
Many parents say they cannot afford these higher school fees.
Education Minister David Coltart said parents and school development associations usually agree on fee rises before submitting them to the government for approval.
“The permanent secretary is empowered to increase fees and levies and if he decides not to approve them an appeal is made to our ministry and it is only at that stage that I get involved in such issues,” Coltart said.
Bulawayo housewife Mercy Sibanda said most parents cannot afford any increases in school fees as they are struggling to make ends meet.
“Any increases will force us to withdraw our son from boarding school where we are currently paying US$370 a term,” Sibanda said.
Angry Harare parent Friday Tendai told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that parents should unite to refuse to pay new fees until the government and business have raised wages for civil servants and general workers.
Ambrose Sibindi, former chairman of the Cyrene Mission Development Committee, said such large fee increases are unjustifiable as Zimbabwe now uses multiple currencies that are more stable than the Zimbabwean dollar used to be.