Some schools have hiked school fees threefold ahead of the first term which commences on 10 January 2022.
According to NewsDay, some learning institutions are seeking approval to increase fees by around 300% to cushion themselves against the depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies on the parallel market.
The official exchange rate is about $109 to the United States dollar but on the parallel market, where most firms get foreign currency, the Zimbabwe dollar trades at $230 to the greenback.
Some parents who spoke to NewsDay claimed to have received payment advice from schools that were only valid for a few days. Said one of the parents:
My child has been accepted at a top private school in Gweru. The fees are US$900, but in Zimdollars the fees are pegged at $216 000.
If I do not pay within a week, the local currency figure changes to reflect whatever exchange rate movement would have taken place.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo predicted a gloomy 2022 for parents and guardians. Said Moyo:
Most school development committees have already told parents that fees have more than doubled coming into the next year while salaries remain low.
What it means is that there might be dropouts or children will have to be transferred to cheaper schools, come next year.
Those (workers), who went to their rural homes might not come back if they don’t have livestock to sell.
The cost of living has just gone up and looking at all the other fundamentals, 2022 is not going to be a stroll in the park.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said civil servants may not be able to pay school fees for their children. He said:
Teachers and civil servants won’t be able to send their children to school in 2022. Already we have noted that most private schools, which are owned by the politicians, are charging fees in US dollars.
Those schools run by the government are looking to charge four to five times more than they did last term if they are to offer quality education.
Majongwe said that unless the Government pays its workers US dollar salaries, tough times lie ahead for civil servants.