MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly yesterday pleaded with government to reduce the 2022 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examination fees announced last week, saying they were beyond the reach of many.
The issue was raised as a matter of national interest by Chiwundura MP Livingstone Chimina (Zanu PF).
This followed a recent statement by Zimsec announcing examination fees pegged in US dollars.
Zimsec said Grade 6 pupils would pay an examination fee of US$11 per term, Grade 7 learners US$22 termly while Ordinary and Advanced Level students would fork out US$24 and US$48 per subject, respectively.
Government, however, said it would contribute a 55% subsidy for government, local authority and non-profit mission school students, while those at private schools would pay the full fees. The examination fee is paid using local currency at the interbank rate between July 22 and July 29 only.
This means in US dollar terms parents at subsidised schools will pay US$5 for Grade 6 per term, US$10 for Grade 7 per term, US$11 per O‘ Level subject and US$22 per A‘ Level subject.
“The examination fees announced by Zimsec are against the students from poor backgrounds because they will not be able to afford the fees due to economic hardships. The Constitution provides for basic education,” Chimina said.
“The fees were pegged in foreign currency while the citizens’ earnings are not pegged in foreign currency, but in local currency. It is my view that examination fees must be charged in local currency and must be reviewed downwards,” he said.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said: “The issue has been overtaken by the petition we have received and the committee is looking into the matter.