The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) says schools are not allowed to demand examination fees exclusively in foreign currency.
ZIMSEC spokesperson Nicky Dlamini told The Sunday News that parents and guardians are allowed to make payments using any of the currencies in use in the country (that is Zimbabwe dollars, US Dollars, Rands, Pula, etcetera).
Dlamini was responding to reports that some schools around the country have been demanding payment for examination fees exclusively in foreign currency. She said:
Schools cannot force parents to pay in foreign currency. That is not allowed and therefore against the regulations.
We have received reports of schools doing this and they are being reprimanded accordingly.
This is where parents have to step up and play a watchdog role so they can alert us when schools are flouting the rules and asking them to pay in forex.
Dlamini said ZIMSEC had initially given the green light to schools, particularly those around border towns, to receive payments in foreign currency for schools.
She said the schools had applied to ZIMSEC requesting a waiver allowing them to deal in forex.
The examinations body had previously announced that all examination fees must be paid in Zimbabwe dollars. Dlamini said:
After we made the announcement that parents can pay the examination fees at the interbank rate equivalent to the quoted USD amounts, we received a letter from schools in areas like Beitbridge and Lower Chiredzi asking for a waiver that would allow them to pay in hard currency.
This is because parents in those areas, use foreign currency on a daily basis and it would be a bit hard for them to get access to RTGS to pay the fees.
So, we have now resolved to allow parents to pay in whatever currency they have access to at that particular time.
If they have rands or RTGS they can pay the equivalent of the fee that was gazetted.
Dlamini added that all schools across the country can collect the money in foreign currency as the Government has adopted a multi-currency system but those that receive payments in forex must also remit the same to the examination body. She said:
So, schools can accept all currencies and we made this regulation in light of the monetary policy resolutions that have been announced by the Government recently.
However, it is important for schools to also note that, when they receive foreign currency, whether it’s USD or rands, they also have to receipt and also remit to ZIMSEC in that currency.
We will not allow a situation where schools accept foreign currency from parents but want to remit RTGS.
Schools that attempt to do that will be reprimanded and punished.
Payment of examination fees is supposed to take place between 22 and 29 July.
According to ZIMSEC, Grade Seven examination fees will be US$30 for all the subjects.
Ordinary Level fees were pegged at US$11 per subject for candidates in public, local authorities-run, and non-profit making schools with the Government paying a subsidy of US$24 while those in private schools and colleges fork out US$24 per subject.
Advanced Level candidates in public and local authority-run schools will pay US$22 per subject with the Government contributing US$26 in subsidy.
Private schools and college candidates shall pay US$48 per subject.