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Stakeholders castigate ZIMSEC over ‘atrocious’ exam fees hike

Stakeholders have castigated the November 2022 examination fees pegged in United States dollars gazetted by Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) for being beyond the reach of many.

According to a statement from ZIMSEC, Grade 7 examination candidates are set to pay for all subjects US$10 and US$22 for public schools and private schools candidates respectively.

Ordinary level examination candidates are set to pay US$11 and US$24 per subject for public schools and private schools candidates respectively.

Advanced level examination candidates are to pay US$22 and US$48 per subject for public schools and private schools candidates respectively.

The examination fees are, however, going to be paid only in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate as at 22 July,2022.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Mr Obert Masaraure said the examination fees are going to stop many students to write public examinations this year and his union is going to organise citizens to fight back.

“The examination fees are atrocious and a declaration of war against the poor. Last year fifty percent of our learners failed to sit for public examinations because of the cost, more are set to lose out this year.”

“ARTUZ will be organising citizens to fight back under the #SaveOurEducationZw campaign. Government should fully fund basic education in line with section 75 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, “he said.

Raymond Majongwe
Raymond Majongwe

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe blamed government for commercialising education and expects the government to pay examinations fees for children of teachers.

“Less than 140 000 will register this year. Education has officially been commercialised by this neoliberal government. The poor are going to suffer.”

“Sixty percent of kids are on BEAM. You raise exam fees like this. What is going to happen? Teachers’ kids are on BEAM. We expect government to pay for them as well,” said Majongwe.

Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Tapedza Zhou urged the government to channel resources where they are needed the most and accused government of not paying half of the examinations as proven by the non-payment of public examination markers.

“Government should channel resources where they are needed most, not mandatorily pay half for everyone, including those who can afford it. We have poor students who cannot at all afford the remaining half of examination fees, yet the government has paid for everyone including those who are not in need of government subsidy.”

“The government cannot convince parents or us that it has paid the other half and what remains is the other half. Had the government been paying, there wasn’t going to be such issues as non-payment of those who mark exams,” he said.

A parent in Mutoko, who refused to be named called the examination fees hike scandalous and labelled the government out of touch with reality

“The increase in the Ordinary and Advanced examination fees is scandalous to say the least.”

“This bears testimony that the powers that be are living in a dreamland and are divorced from reality. The exponential rise in the fees is not in touch with the economic realities bedeviling our economy.”

Another concerned parent in Gokwe who declined to be named urged the government to extend examination fees subsidy to private candidates as well and viewed the examination fees hike as exorbitant considering the erosion of earnings caused by inflation.

“Government should treat public and private school candidates the same way. Private candidates are also Zimbabweans and they should benefit from their government.”

“The exam fee is too much considering that most of us parents don’t earn much. The virus called inflation is eroding whatever we get from what we sell on almost daily basis,” he said.

In response ZIMSEC public relations manager Ms Nicky Moyo defended the set examination fees as necessary to successfully run examinations and argued that the government considered the plight of parents through the 55% subsidy.

“ZIMSEC charges examination fees once in a year or examination cycle. The fees collected are meant to sustain the operations which ensure the timeous   and successful running of examinations.”

“The government of Zimbabwe has considered the plight of parents and guardians which is seen in the 55% subsidy which it is giving to those in public schools, local council schools and not for profit mission schools,” she said.

Ms Nicky Moyo said the examinations fees were pegged in United States dollars to ensure that the fees are collected holding a constant value and specified when the examination fees were going to be paid.

“The 2022 gazetted examination fees are pegged in United States dollars to ensure that the fees are collected holding a constant value according to the time in which they are paid.”

“Examination fees are to be paid in Zimbabwe dollars at the interbank rate which shall be prevailing on the 22nd of July 2022. The payment of period is between 22nd and 29th July 2022, which will ensure the conformity and uniformity of all payments made by parents and guardians to ZIMSEC,” she said.

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