Parents feel short changed to pay full fees for the 2022 first term starting on Monday 07 February 2022, even though it is a bit shorter than usual, since the missing days have been spread over the second and third terms.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education told the media that school authorities needed to agree with parents on any increase in fees to be charged for this term, which would then have to be approved by the Ministry.
In a survey by Zimbabwe voice a number of schools both government and privately-owned ones, have in most cases fix their fees in US dollar terms without consulting parents, and use parallel market rate.
Lessons are expected to resume on Monday, with learners remaining in school for 45 days before schools close on April 7.
The second term will begin on May 3,2022 and runs for 69 days until August 4, while the third term will have 71 school days from September 5 to December 8, 2022.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro told the media that this should not affect the fees structure of schools in any way.
“We have had cases of parents who have been asking whether the first term is not too short compared to the second term and third term,” he said.
“The school fees are approved per term and the days that have been removed from the first term have been factored into the second and third terms, so there should be no challenges with the fees. The fees that are approved will be there.”
As it stands third of the pupils in the public school system will have their tuition fees covered by the major increase in the BEAM budget for this year, with the Government determined that genuine parental poverty must not be allowed to curtain a child’s education in any way.
The Government has been conducting a tour of schools to ensure preparedness to reopen under strict Covid-19 protocols.
The Ministries of Health and Child Care and of Primary and Secondary Education are working together to implement the standard operating procedures that were and then improved last year to safeguard the health of learners and staff in all schools.
Mr Ndoro said most schools in urban, peri-urban and rural areas were now ready to receive learners.
“Preparations are progressing very well in all schools,” he said. “Obviously there are a few final touches that some remote and under-resourced schools still have to do and we have been making recommendations so those are being put in place.
“Otherwise we have all hands on deck and this means schools opening will go smoothly on Monday.”
Meanwhile the government is making some efforts to assess schools damaged by the heavy rains brought about by overland tropical depression Ana last week with parts of Manicaland most affected.