Zimbabwe’s Barter Tuition Fees– Zimbabwe’s economy is currently at its all time low. Last year, the nation particularly battled with the severe cash shortage.
Obviously this has negatively impacted the development and progress of several important institutions in the country. The schools for instance have faced a challenge in rendering educational services to pupils.
On the other hand parents are finding it difficult to foot their bills in these schools.
Now, Zimbabwe’s Barter Tuition Fees comes into the picture to help both students and schools.
In several systems, failure to pay up tuition fees is an automatic way to stop coming to school. The danger is that abandoning education at this point will not be beneficial to anyone per say.
Stepping into the awkward spot the government through the Minister of Primary and Secondary education, says that schools are hereby mandated to accept livestock and labor in place of the usual monetary fees.
The announcement has received various reactions. While some on social media find it hilarious, some others are looking at the practicality of the decree.
According to the plan, parents in rural areas are welcome to exchange livestock of same value for school fees. In the same way, people in urban areas are expected to pay with labor.
In the words of the minister, Dr Lazarus Dokora,
“Our schools have to be flexible and ensure those who do not have money to pay fees can work.
He says it is only thoughtful that people work for the school as a “form of payment of tuition fees”.
Going further on, he says that the “community has to arrange a market where everyone participates; from the school authorities, local leadership and parents themselves to avoid parents being duped.”
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association secretary-general, John Mlilo does not see the prospects of the new plan.
“I do not think that it’s sustainable with regards to parents in urban areas … so many parents have outstanding balances.
Therefore, I am trying to imagine those 1 000-plus parents coming to work at a school … Why spend time doing manual labour at a school when they can go there to look for a good job?”
Mlilo also brought into the argument the psychological effect of this decision on pupils. He reckons that the idea of labor cum livestock-for-fees plan would be harmful to the self esteem of pupils from poor homes.
“Talk about self-esteem … children will be subject to ridicule and bullying, and the concerned parents themselves will not feel good about it”
Sunday Mail reported that that several State-run primary schools in Glen View, Harare have already adopted the arrangement.
However some are still adamant that this is not a good idea.
A Harare parent, Dr Cecilia Mbanje finds the proposition absurd. She requests the government to improve the economy to avert the barter decision.
She believes that the newly endorsed Zimbabwe’s barter tuition fees may work better for the rural community, the cities might be a different story.
On the contrary, another Harare parent, Mr Tawanda Tsomondo asks:
“The assumption also is that parents in rural areas have some sort of wealth. What if they don’t? And then what? Go and work? The ministry should look for more viable options.”
“We cannot run schools with goats.”