The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will soon announce a new school calendar that will also determine the new fees structure for the first term which was delayed by almost a month due to rising coronavirus infections.
On Friday, the Government announced that schools will open for the first term on 7 February but did not announce when they will close.
Speaking to The Sunday News on Saturday, the Director of communication and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Taungana Ndoro said:
What has been happening now was a lot of background discussions regarding the issue of fees, with the schools submitting their applications for fee increment while they waited for the announcement of the opening day.
What will happen now is that the new fees structure will be determined by the school calendar, which our Permanent Secretary will announce in due course as already our officers are working on it.
According to the initial school calendar which was released on 30 December, the first term was set to begin on 10 January and end on 7 April.
The second term was set to begin on 9 May ending on 4 August while the third term was to start on 5 September and finish on 1 December.
On school fees, Ndoro asserted that no school will be allowed to increase school fees or levy without approval from the ministry. He said:
The ministerial position has been clear regarding these tuition fees, in that only those structures approved by the ministry will be considered binding.
All these other fees that have been peddled around without any approval are deemed illegal and officials that go ahead will be regarded as defiant and will be dealt with accordingly.
Ndoro conceded that huge numbers of schoolchildren have dropped out of school since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the community outreach aimed at bringing back to the classroom schoolchildren that dropped out of school was yielding positive results.