Private School Fees during COVID -19

With schools currently closed, and with the extended lockdown, many parents are struggling financially with some even facing the prospect of redundancy. Many are very concerned about the way forward for their children’s schooling. One particular parent sat down over the weekend and wrote in the following comments:

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Please note, as always, that views sent in as Readers Comments do not necessarily reflect those of the management and staff at BambaNhasi (Pvt) ltd.  Ciao Mike G.

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To All Fellow Friends, Parents.

Am writing this note to bring up this major concern to all of us with children at school. As we know the fees have been invoiced in the fashion they have across board. In these times we need to understand and for once in our lives react to this situation.

I want to be very brief and to the point with this letter. I , amongst many parents out there have found it difficult in the past to be able to maintain paying the school fees that we have to pay, in an environment that was tough enough as it is .Nevertheless I’m sure so many of you out there went to great extremes to get this done!

This time i believe very strongly they have crossed the line! To hand out fees in the manner they have is simply JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE.I am aware that these schools have costs to deal with but i very much doubt the school needs full fees from struggling parents (in my case and I’m sure in many others, that have not been able to bring in income as we normally would.)for example, It makes me wonder in these Schools specific budgets how “Transport” has been included in their fee allocation during this time without a single bus on the road or a drop of fuel to run them needed????

It’s a typical case in very simple terms we are being ripped off. Blatantly. There needs to be something done, I am tired of the same situation in this country where we as Zimbabweans just seem to accept what is thrown at us ,pay valuable hard earned money and carry on. Most of the time out of our control but NOT HERE!! These Schools have been supported by us as parents as said before through grueling times and this is the respect they show us?!They need to remember that although they think we will just get on with it because we need to educate our children and would do anything to do that, without us as a parent body they would not exist without us.

I’m hoping this is a starting point for us to be able to have a voice to adjust what has happened and at least have a say. Parents please don’t think we cannot do anything about this. If enough of us refuse to be ripped off again, it will happen. Think twice before you break your backs to pay these fees and take this concern to the schools that we are not happy and not going to let this lie for once in our lives.

Other readers went further on to comment on the issue of School fees

Having read the comments and various other arguments with regards to fees I feel I should offer a perspective from 2 angles. I have a son and a daughter both at top private schools in Harare. My son receives daily actual tutoring from his teacher. Adequate work and clear instructions. I am able to leave him unattended, in front of the computer and know that he is being educated. There is interaction with his friends and teachers alike. I do not mind paying for such a service at all. I understand that many of these same teachers are sacrificing their time to offer a service to teach my son. Yes it’s a paid service so they are doing an amazing job and I have no issue paying my son’s fees. 

My daughter on the other hand. Dumping work onto Google classroom and expecting me to teach her is not acceptable at all. Then to have the cheek to charge for such a service. The mind boggles. The complete lack of class interaction and the general not caring attitude has left me at a point whereby I am contemplating the value of the school. To increase the fees and take the lazy approach to expect parents to pay seems mind blowing to me. Worse yet when contacting the teacher, I am reprimanded to do so via the class stream.. It is downright disgusting to charge a full fee and expect me to teach my child. 

I certainly think that parents receiving actual online tutoring need to keep quiet and appreciate that very little has changed from your day to day routine regarding your child’s education. Those that are paying fees for a Google classroom dumping ground need to stand up and demand better. If the school can’t produce better then demand reduced fees. – withered mom 

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I agree with you, even through this virus situation, our schools are still maintaining education online which is a great privilege . The fees have also been reduced significantly since our currency issues. I’m very impressed with the way schools are dealing with this situation , and I can’t thank them enough. Private schooling is a privilege not a right! Nobody expected the corona virus to hit us, but it has , so we must just deal with it, and succeed. I thank all of those teachers and staff that have made it work!! Regards Gill

Whilst I understand and can see the points made so far, there is another angle that I don’t think has been expressed. Firstly, I am pleased to have educated kids already, and done the Tertiary side as well. So I have been through all the Zim has thrown at us in the past. So, yes keep teachers paid properly so they don’t leave, and keep standards at their highest. But, and it’s a very big BUT……. This is not like any other speedbump we’ve hit in the past (just when you thought you had seen everything), the Covid issue has meant that we ALL need to take a knock. Some businesses have had no revenue, whilst some have been less badly affected. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask that Private Schools do the same, and that is to find a way of reducing the fees. I do not think there is anyone in the country who hasn’t had to tighten their belt, (not to mention the entire world!), the Schools should be prepared to do that as well. Yes, it may mean asking Teachers and Wage earners to take a reduced earning, businesses are doing this already.This time it is different, so let’s compromise, and get through this. Grant   

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I came to this country in 1979 and although not a parent then found enough information to realise what a wonderful level of education existed here. Having attended a Public School in England, I could not fail to notice similarities as a foundation for so many schools. This is not harping back to the past but pointing out what was possible in the recent past. We now fast forward to 2020 and although there are the top schools still existing but at what cost, but many of the other schools have fallen by the wayside. What was possible for many has now become elitist from a financial perspective. Like with so many things that have happened, this is not advancement.

The issue concerning School fees as highlighted above remains a complex conundrum that can not be soundly resolved within a few minutes. Having said this, perhaps as we move forward to finding a possible solution, we should consider educating our children not only academically but with good virtues as well, this way we can raise a generation of leaders built with integrity and compassion. Comment down below and let us know your thoughts on the matter.

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