Progressive Teachers’ Union letter to Minister Mathema

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Ambassador Cain Mathema
Ambassador House
Kwame Nkrumah Ave

11 February 2020

Dear Sir

Re: 2020 ZIMSEC Registration fees

We have no doubt you are aware, Hon Minister, of the examination fees and dates announced by Zimsec via a circular last week. Or maybe we should start by refreshing your memory.

In it’s Finance Circular 1/2020, ZIMSEC raised examination fees for O Level candidates from $15 to $190 and for A Level candidates from $26 to $351. In simple terms that is more than 13 times from the old figures.

We are no doubt aware of the rise in the costs required by Zimsec to run examinations as well as pay various personnel including examiners who include our members.

However, the percentage increase is to us a monumental injustice and a travesty.

We know that the gvt and Cabinet to which you are part approved these figures, most likely as a way of running away from ZIMSEC’s perpetual begging bowl. The problems that arise from the new registration figures are numerous and should be attended to.

  1. The gvt has allowed Zimsec to raise it’s registration figures to $10USD at a time when it has consistently refused to raise the salaries of teachers to the interbank rate of the previous salary of USD520. The effect is that most teachers will not be able to pay the examination fees.
  2. What makes the situation worse is that the deadlines for payment have been slotted so close together and the notice too short to enable parents and guardians to raise the required funds. It in fact induces a sense of shock and despondency among the general public.
  3. If the working class can’t afford such fees, there is no reason to believe that the suffering and poor rural populace can pay. In many communal areas livestock has been ravaged by disease and hunger such that none will be able to sell anything to raise fees.

From the foregoing it is clear that we are slowly trudging into a situation whereby a majority won’t be able to sacrifice and register more than a few subjects.

We are back again to that situation whereby only a few privileged people are able to register.

Given the circumstances we have highlighted, we therefore demand that either the registration fees be urgently reviewed down to affordable figures, or the govt immediately announces that it will subsidise all candidates by a factor of not lessthan 50%.

The govt cannot be allowed to pay lip service to the mantra of education for all.

If our demands are not met within seven days we will take legal action or resort to any other means to correct the situation.Our options will include street marches to Parliament or any other office we will decide to visit.

We trust that you will respond positively.

Yours faithfully

R Majongwe

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