PARENTS and guardians of pupils at Nyamuzuwe High School have threatened to stage a protest against school authorities who they accuse of demanding United States dollars exclusively for fees, in contrast with a government directive that fees can also be paid in local currency.

Government said schools could charge fees in United States dollars, but at the prevailing interbank rate.

A memorandum dated July 27, 2022, addressed to parents by Nyamuzuwe High School headmaster Peter Rinomhota in Mutoko, shows that the school is demanding a top up fee of US$208 for the second term, without an option of payment in local currency.

The school has also pegged the third term fees at US$400, which cannot be paid in local currency, triggering outrage among parents.

"In order to lock the value on Term Two and Term Three 2022, parents agreed to pay in US dollars," Rinomhota wrote.

"Go to any ZB Bank branch, swipe/deposit your cash, you get proof of payment slips. Bring to Inner City UMC church for receipting. As for now, no transfer or ZipIt or cash until further notice."

The school also withheld results for students who have not paid fees in full, which triggered outrage from parents and guardians who threatened to take legal action against the school authorities.

Contacted for comment, Rinomhota said the school was battling a US$160 000 debt which it borrowed during the term after the fees paid by the parents were eroded by inflation.

"The very parents who are complaining are the ones who we consult when making every decision that has to do with the day-to-day running of the school," he said.

"Do you think that I can just wake up and decide to peg school fees as I like? We owe various suppliers US$160 000 after we agreed with the parents that we could borrow the items and they will pay. The allegations are unfounded."

A parent, who spoke to source on condition of anonymity, said: "We are concerned with how the school came up with the top-up amount in US dollars. It is also of concern why the school is refusing to accept payment in local currency. We have tried to engage the school authorities in vain."

Source - NewsDay