Teachers’ unions have bemoaned the “paltry” salaries earned by civil servants amid tuition fee hikes by schools ahead of the commencement of the 2023 first term.
Some private schools have reportedly increased school fees ahead of next term, with some of them charging fees exclusively in foreign currency.
This comes as children of some teachers have failed to get their Grade 7 results after school authorities allegedly withheld them to force the teachers to settle school fees arrears.
Arundel School in Harare is reportedly charging over US$1 500 enrolment fees for Form 1 places.
The school has pegged its 2023 school fees at US$2 980 per term for day schoolers, while boarding schoolers will pay US$5 150.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said that the fees charged by some schools show that education has become a “commodity”. Said Masaraure:
Government has also given a go-ahead to schools to charge fees in US$ and they have even gone on to say that if parents do not afford it, they should move away from that school.
So, we have a clear ideological position for the government of the day where education is now a commodity on the market. It’s only bought by those who can afford it, those who can’t — tough luck.
This is against the dictates of section 75 of the Constitution where the State is supposed to fund basic free education.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe tweeted:
Grade 7 results are in; common sense is outside the window. Boarding schools are on average charging US$1 200 for a Form 1 place, including uniforms.
A teacher will need six months to get their Form 1 child into a boarding school. Shocking levels of pauperism in the civil service.
In a statement, the Educators Union of Zimbabwe said that corruption among school administrators is pushing tuition fees up. It said:
Those exorbitant fees are symptoms of an educational system rotten to the core.
Corruption is now rife among school administrators who want to fatten their pockets in time before retirement.
We call on the government to address their remuneration and pension issues since these are the major drivers of corruption.