AN announcement by the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) to peg examination fees in United States dollars has sparked uproar from parents and guardians.
They described the fees as unrealistic and beyond their reach.
Zimsec said Grade 6 pupils would pay an examination fee of US$11 per term, Grade 7 learners US$22 termly while Ordinary and Advanced Level students will fork out US$11 and US$22 per subject, respectively.
The fees, with a 55% government subsidy, are payable at the interbank rate.
“This is unjustifiable to charge fees in US dollars while the majority of Zimbabweans earn in local currency. We are tired of the government that increases prices on everything while failing to increase salaries,” a parent Nobukhosi Dliwayo said.
Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo co-ordinator Vusumizi Mhlanga said: “The government should admit that its currency is no longer viable. It has failed. It’s high time they pay civil servants in US dollars.”
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) said the fees were unjustified.
“It defies the simplest logic on why as a nation we are being subjected to such authoritarian decrees that are further disadvantaging the people, the nation is already in an economic crisis with our inflation being recently rated as the worst in the world amid lack of commitment from the powers that be,” Artuz said in a statement.
“Furthermore the idea to brazenly declare that late registration will not be accepted is further proof that our government is completely divorced from the realities of the citizens they claim to represent.”
Statistics show that more than half of students eligible to write exams last year failed to register because of lack of money.
A United States embassy report on the 2021 state of human rights in Zimbabwe released in April revealed that an estimated 840 000 schoolchildren quit school since 2020.