The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education says it will soon reveal the names of schools that unilaterally hiked third-term tuition fees without approval and those demanding tuition fees “top-ups”.
Some schools are reportedly demanding payment of tuition fees exclusively in United States dollars.
The errant school authorities will face charges of criminal financial misconduct.
Circular Number 1 of 2023 stipulates that all Government boarding schools, private early childhood development (ECD) centres, and private schools and colleges are required to apply for a review of levies and tuition fees before effecting changes.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry Kwadzanayi Nyanungo on Friday told The Sunday Mail that action will soon be taken against schools that are flouting the correct procedures in effecting tuition adjustments. She said:
"The ministry is currently monitoring and enforcing strict compliance with the provisions of the Secretary’s Circular Number 1 of 2023, which provides standard guidelines for the determination and processing of applications for the increase of school fees and levies.
This circular is in line with the Treasury’s requirements on the management of public funds.
In the next seven days, statistics will be ready on the exact number of non-compliant schools and the action taken in this regard."
Nyanungo explained that applications for an increase in fees and levies are processed at the provincial level. She said:
"Within the devolution system, provincial education directors use the stated guidelines to process applications for an increase of fees and levies at their level and the statistics thereof are maintained at the provincial level.
As we speak, the ministry is conducting a survey to determine the exact number of applications per district, province, the proposed increase margin and the proportions of approval and rejections.
The Secretary’s Circular Number 1 of 2023 clearly explains the guidelines and processes to be followed by any school.
Any violation of this policy requirement will be handled in line with Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000, as amended, as it constitutes an act of financial misconduct that also brings the ministry into disrepute.
Furthermore, the illegal collection of unapproved fees constitutes serious financial malpractice that other competent arms of Government are also addressing in their own right.
These include the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit."
Nyanungo urged parents to report offending schools to the government to ensure that appropriate action is taken against them. She said:
"Such details should include the name of the school, name of the school head, district, province and evidence of financial malpractice, including the issuance of a receipt in a different currency to the one paid.
The ministry requests the media to assist in disseminating the correct position that the approval of fees is a non-negotiable requirement for any school to demand additional payment from parents or guardians.
Parents have the right to demand proof of the ministry’s approval and even check the date of approval."
Schools opened last week for the third and final term of the year and reports suggest that some schools are demanding payment exclusively in foreign currency.