By VENERANDA LANGA

SCHOOLCHILDREN are not going to be charged second term school fees as there was no learning during the COVID-19-induced lockdown period, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Edgar Moyo said yesterday.

He also told the National Assembly during question and answer session that fees should not be charged in United States dollars, adding that only fees approved by government would be authorised.

“Children are not going to pay for what they did not receive. They open schools on September 28 and they are going to pay for that period,” Moyo said.

“When schools open, we expect that fees must be approved by the Ministry of Education. If schools have changed their fees, they must make the necessary procedures to apply for the increase in fees and at the moment fees are in Zimbabwe dollars. If anyone wants to pay fees in US$, then the current going interbank rate must apply,” he said.

Moyo also said it was not government policy to charge fees for online lessons, adding that if any school decided to charge for e-learning, it should agree with the parent and apply to the ministry for approval.

Speaker of the NationalAssembly Jacob Mudenda then said Moyo should produce a circular to be distributed to MPs so that they take corrective action on schools that do not comply with government policy.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira told the National Assembly that government was planning to increase the fuel allocated to Zupco from the current 500 000 litres to 700 000 litres per month to ensure adequate transport for schoolchildren and teachers when examination classes start on September 28.

Murwira defended the Zupco monopoly, saying it had helped curb the spread of COVID-19.

“The context is COVID-19 and I do not think that the issue of liberalisation comes into play at this moment because we are talking about people’s lives to ensure that transport is well accounted for. Zupco is just the co-ordinating mechanism and there are a lot of private players having their vehicles managed by Zupco so there is no monopoly by Zupco,” he said.

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