Tensions rise as schools flatly reject ZiG currency


SCHOOLS in Manicaland are on a collision course with the Government as they are flatly refusing to accept the recently introduced Zimbabwe Gold currency— insisting on payment of full fees in foreign currency.

As if that was not enough, some learners this week spent awkward hours in banks queues where purported network challenges in local currency transactions were being experienced.

Surprisingly, their counterparts who were transacting in USD were readily served.

Schools are opening for the second term on Tuesday.

While the new ZiG currency has been widely accepted in supermarkets and wholesalers, the same cannot be said about schools that have been somewhat sceptical in their approach in accepting fees and levies in the new currency.

Schools have been openly defying Government’s directive that parents can pay fees for their children in a currency they can afford.

ZiG is circulating in a basket of currencies, and therefore a legal tender.

Investigations by The Manica Post this week revealed that most schools in Manicaland were turning away parents and guardians who wanted to pay fees and levies in local currency under the pretext that they were yet to synchronise their transaction systems and gadgets with the new ZiG currency.

This was deemed a flimsy excuse to hold parents at ransom as most fees are paid through banks whose systems have already been configured and calibrated to the new currency.

At the same schools, parents who were paying in USD were readily served.

Some of the schools were saying they will only accept the new currency when they reopen — the same strategy they used during the RTGS era, hoping that the official bank rate would have gone up.

This sad directive sharply contrasts the dictates of the Education Act which states that school fees should be paid on or before schools open.

For example, at a local bank along Herbert Chitepo in Mutare, parents intending to pay school fees in local currency were made to wait for long hours on Tuesday as officials insisted that their ZiG network was down.

Boarding schools in the province were demanding fees and levies exclusively in foreign currency.

Ironically, the basic foodstuffs that these boarding schools require to feed learners are being sold in ZiG in local supermarkets and wholesalers.

Director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said Government’s position is that school fees should be paid in the local currency — ZiG — but parents have the freedom to pay in a currency of their choice.

“As schools prepare to reopen on May 7, 2024, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to reiterate an important policy regarding school fees payment. According to Secretary’s Circular No. 10 of 2022, Government’s position is that school fees should be paid in the local currency, which is now referred to as ZiG.

“It is essential to note that no school should compel parents to pay fees or levies exclusively in foreign currency as Zimbabwe operates under a multi-currency regime. Parents have the freedom to pay in a currency of their choice.

In cases where fees are pegged in foreign currency for value preservation purposes, parents can make their payments in the local currency at the prevailing interbank rate of the day of the transaction.

“This ensures that the fees are appropriately converted into any currency equivalent. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education emphasizes compliance with this policy to ensure fairness and flexibility in fee payments for all parents and guardians,” said Mr Ndoro.

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