Exam fee payment to be staggered

Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT says parents will now be allowed to stagger payment of examination fees as it moves to balance the right of children to education and the current economic challenges facing the country, The Herald can reveal. The new payment system is expected to ease the burden on parents as they can pay over an extended period, and enable as many pupils as possible to write their exams.

Schools have already started dispatching circulars informing parents of the latest development.

Reads a circular released by a school in Harare to parents and seen by The Herald: “We have been advised that Cabinet has approved a staggered payment of examination fees for those currently in Form 3 and 4. This means that they can start paying their examination fees now.

“However, no part payments for subject(s) will be accepted.”

The circular goes on to elaborate on the payments: “Those who would like to use the staggered approach should pay for a specific subject(s), at least one this term for “A” Level and at least two subjects this term for “O” Level. The current examination fees (for 2015) will be accepted – “A” Level subject fee $26.00, additional fee for practical subject $17.00 (agriculture and biology). “O” Level subject fee $15.00, additional fee for practical subject $15.00. All examination fees will be accepted at the school during working hours before 12.30 pm.”

For Grade 7 examinations, parents can start payment when their child is in the second term of Grade 6.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora confirmed the development in an interview yesterday.

“All Grade 7 pupils have already been accounted for. They have already paid for their examinations through this system,” he said.

Minister Dokora said those on the Basic Education Assistance Module had their monies paid for.

“So, I have a full house and I am very, very satisfied with that development because it means for the first time in many years I am able to assure the teachers who are going to mark the exams that they will be paid on time and those that supply ancillary services such as accommodation, catering for the markers, I can assure them that they will be paid on time.”

Minister Dokora dismissed calls from some quarters to scrap Grade 7 and “O” Level examinations.

“Consequently, because the parents, the stakeholders, understand the significance of Grade 7 and Form 4 examinations, when appealed to, they were quick to respond. There are some naysayers in the wilderness talking about scrapping of Grade 7 or Form 4 examinations. I do not know who they are talking to because the parents have already expressed themselves in practice by fully paying the Grade 7 examinations fees. . .”

He added: “That allows us as a system to say to Zimsec, produce the results on time and ensure that we do not carry any gaps with any of the examiners.”