ZIMSEC demanding exam fees in US$ – Parliament told; yet Govt banning retailers from same

THE Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) is reportedly demoing payment of 2022 examination fees in United States (US) dollars, parliament head this week.

This comes at a time the government has threatened the cancel licences for retailers and businesses now demanding payment for goods and services exclusively in US dollars.

The national exams body sparked outrage among parents last month when it announced A’ level and O’ level examination fees pegged in US dollars but indicated students could pay in local currency at the prevailing RBZ exchange rate.

However, speaking in Parliament Thursday, Zanu PF Bikita East legislator Johnson Madhuku said parents were being told to pay in foreign currency.

“I rise on an issue of national interest and this concerns the issue of examination fees for the A’ level and O’ level students for the 2022 examination,” said the legislator.

“What is surprising is that the deadline for the payment of these examination fees is supposed to be the end of this month but we have seen and heard reports from schools whose Headmasters have been called for meetings and have been instructed that the candidates have to pay in the USD.”

He added; “This is disturbing because the Ministry is not being sincere. They told this House that fees payments are going to be accepted even in the ZWL.

“Now, the Heads have been instructed that they have to accept fees in USD for the simple reason that if the fees are paid in the ZWL now, at the time of remitting the money to ZIMSEC it would have lost value because of the high inflation.

“Therefore, we feel this is very unfair, not only to the prospective candidates but even to the parents also. A lot of these parents especially in the rural areas do not earn USD.”

Madhuku said the deputy primary and secondary education minister had presented a statement to Parliament “whereby he promised that the Ministry was looking into the issue with a view to revise downwards the fees charged to these students.

“We were very much worried that the fees were too high and were going to disadvantage some students by failing to pay the examination fees”.

He added; “So, as a matter of urgency, we are supposed to have the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education coming back to this House and tell us why they are changing goal post disadvantaging learners.

“This is going to affect all of us here, we are parents, we have children and relatives. As I have mentioned earlier on, a lot of learners, a lot of candidates are going to be left behind against the mantra His Excellency is talking about that everybody has to be taken on board.”

Zimbabwe is struggling with a collapsing currency and runaway inflation forcing the Reserve Bank to Zimbabwe to increase interest rates to 200% recently.

Retailers have also started to demand exclusive US dollar payments for some products angering the government which threatened to cancel operating licences.

“I want to make it clear and categorical that this is totally unacceptable,” said Mthuli Ncube at Tuesday’s post cabinet media briefing.

“They are breaking the law. The law says the citizens or anyone approaching the shops should offer the currency of their choice.

“We cannot tolerate this kind of nonsense, absolutely not. They are breaking the law.” – NZ

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