JUNIOR parliamentarians have petitioned the government to reduce examination fees after the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec) hiked them by over 1 200 percent.
Last week, Zimsec increased examination fees for Ordinary Level candidates from $15 to $190 and for Advanced level from $26 to $351 per subject.
In the petition addressed to Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema, junior members of Parliament and Youth minister Tinashe Ngirande said the new fees if not reduced would result in many students, particularly those in rural areas, failing to sit for their examinations.
“As the Junior Parliament and Junior Council it has come to our concern that Zimsec hiked registration fees with immediate effect without approaching any children body in Zimbabwe.
“Furthermore, as representatives of children’s interests in Zimbabwe, we have received complaints about the new prices which are not favourable to anyone,” Ngirande said in the petition.
“Rural students were failing to pay $15 (per subject) and now it’s almost $200. In short, as the Junior Parliament and Council we are not supporting these prices, therefore, we are asking the ministry to review these prices again considering Section 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Ngirande said the proposed fees were a violation of the right to education as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“As the Junior Parliament we visited schools around the country in both urban and rural areas. We found, especially in rural areas, that there are many pupils who are failing to raise just $130 for school fees before we even start talking about the hiked examination fees. Some were even failing to raise the $15 that was there before being increased.
“We understand that things are now expensive in this country, but raising the fees beyond the reach of many is a violation of the fundamental right to education,” he said.
According to Zimsec, foreign candidates will pay more to sit for the local examinations.
They will fork out $443 to register for an ‘O’ Level subject while the amendment fees for a subject at ‘O’ Level is now pegged at $89.