By Nqobile Tshili
Bulawayo City Council-run schools are owed more than $2 million in unpaid fees with the local authority increasing electronic options of payment to promote ease of doing business.
According to the latest council minutes, debt that dates back to 2014 increased by $237,221 from the first term.
“The Director of Housing and Community Services reported (13th September, 2018) that this report tabulates the payment of fees in the City of Bulawayo’s 30 schools as at the end of second term 2018.
There were currently 40 196 learners in total enrolled in the City of Bulawayo schools with only one learner being an extra territorial pupil,” reads the report.
“The enrolment increased by 66 from the first term figure of 40 130. The total paid for tuition and Council levies amounted to $514,957 which was a slight decrease from $587,435.70 paid in the first term.
This could have been due to the election period which affected the second term school operations and environment.”
The municipality said the school fees debt has continued to rise with residents and Government among institutions owing it.
“The debt increased from $2 383 987 to $2 621 208. During the second term Government paid $9 002 (tuition) and $7 505 (School Development Committee levies) towards debtors of Beam funded learners.
The payments made were not sufficient to clear the debts which stand at $260 787 (tuition) and $244 913 (SDC levies). These debts go as far back as 2014,” reads the report.
The municipality said it intends to add more electronic machines in its schools to promote the ease of doing business.
“The Department had adopted several payment platforms to make it easier for parents to pay their dues. These include Ecocash, swipe machines and the RTGs systems through their individual banks. It is hoped that with time swipe machines will become available in all schools,” reads the report.
“Currently there were 12 schools with swipe machines and 20 with Ecocash facility.
“Five schools had both swipe and Ecocash facilities. More schools had applied for both services for ease of doing business in the Council schools. These still awaited the services be installed in their schools.” The Chronicle.