LATEST:Government approves forex-only school fees

The government will not stop schools from charging fees in foreign currency if parents and guardians agree.
Some institutions have advocated for school fees to be paid in foreign currency starting next term. Their contention is that some parents “purposely” delay paying fees until inflation erodes the money.

Taungana Ndoro, director of communication and advocacy for the Government of Primary and Secondary Education, said in an interview that the ministry had a regulation preventing schools from charging entirely in foreign currency, but they couldn’t stand in the way if parents agreed to pay in FX.

He stated their policy could only be applied if schools charged parents without proper channels.

“If parents agree to pay for their children in foreign currency, we won’t stop them.

Yes, our policy says schools can’t charge exclusively in foreign currency, but we won’t stand in their way if parents decide otherwise. We emphasize majority parent consensus.

Mr. Ndoro said the government will intervene if an imposed decision is not supported by most parents.

The ministry official said they won’t accept a decision if only a minority supports it.

Mr. Ndoro added that if the minority was against the decision and felt aggrieved, they may transfer their children to schools where they could afford the costs.

Several primary and secondary schools, including government and council-run institutions, have written circulars declaring they will only accept US dollars for fees. Other schools require at least half of tuition in foreign currency.

Some schools illegally convert USD fees to local currencies using parallel market pricing. Exclusively charging in foreign currency and setting prices at parallel market rates is unlawful under the Exchange Control Act and the Bank Use Promotion Act.

According to the Education Act, any tuition fee change must be agreed by a majority of parents in a School Parents Assembly meeting attended by at least 20% of parents.

School authorities must then submit an adjustment request to the ministry together with meeting minutes and the school budget. Sundaynews

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