The government has given the green light to schools to charge fees exclusively in foreign currency as long as the majority of the parents and guardians of learners are in favour of the move.
This comes amid reports that some School Development Committees (SDCs) have pushed that school fees be paid exclusively in foreign currency from next term.
The SDCs argue that some parents deliberately delay paying fees, only paying after the money would have been eroded by inflation.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, told State media that the government will not block schools from charging exclusively in foreign currency if the majority of parents agree to the decision.
Ndoro said parents who would oppose the move, if they are in the minority, should take their children to other schools. He said:
If parents have a consensus we cannot stop them, if they agree as a majority that they want to pay for their children in foreign currency we will not block them.
Yes, we have the policy that says schools cannot charge exclusively in forex but remember we are dealing with a community of parents and if they collectively decide on something we will not stand in their way.
What we are emphasising is the need for a consensus as in a majority of the parents.
The ministry will come in when we discover that such a decision was imposed and a majority of the parents did not endorse it.
However, if the minority would have been against the decision and feel aggrieved by the decision or that they cannot afford the arrangement of paying exclusively in foreign currency, they have an option of making alternative arrangements like transferring their children to schools where they feel they can afford the fees.
Several schools countrywide, including Government and council-run institutions, have already advised parents that they will charge fees exclusively in United States dollars, without the option of paying in local currency.
However, other schools have directed parents and guardians to pay at least half of the fees in foreign currency. | The Sunday News