Colleges should benefit from exam fees subsidy — NGOs

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CIVIL society organisations Tag a Life International (Tali) and Every Child in School have called on the government to include home-based colleges on the list of schools set to benefit from subsidised examination fees.

This comes as the government recently announced that it would pay 53 percent of the examination fees for June and November 2020 candidates in public schools.

This followed an uproar early this year when the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) increased fees to $190 per subject for Ordinary Level candidates and $351 for Advanced Level candidates.

Tali executive director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said most students who attend home-based colleges are from poor backgrounds, hence the need for the government to extend the examination fees subsidy to them.

“The government seems to be highly detached from the suffering of citizens. Zimbabwe has over 95 percent informal employment, meaning most families are living from hand to mouth.
“We have a significant percentage of children who are failing to get into the formal education system despite the availability of policies and laws that allow these kids access, and many are resorting to private colleges,” Mashayamombe said.

She added that the private colleges are poorly run and are mainly attended by children from poor families who have either been denied enrolment due to lack of money or pushed out of government schools.

“Through its grading, the government regards these children as being in private colleges and able to pay full examination fees, which is an absolute violation of their rights.

“If the government did its homework, it would have classified these colleges as deserving of the same benefits government school children have.

“Many of the children will not sit for these exams if the state does not fully fund their examination fees,” she said.

“We therefore urge the government of Zimbabwe to review its position and scrap examination fees altogether for all children, especially those it classifies as government schools, local authority schools and mission schools as well as the mushrooming private colleges,” Mashayamombe said.

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