Desmond Nleya, Chronicle Reporter
PRIVATE colleges around the city are charging exorbitant prices as Centre Fees for both private and fulltime pupils who want to sit for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) examinations in 2020.
Ironically, some colleges tuition fees for the whole term are lower than the Centre fees they are charging.
The Centre Fees being charged by Colleges range from $400 to $500 with science subjects being pegged at $540 while the fees for other subjects remain unchanged.
An official from a local College who preferred anonymity said Zimsec increased registration fees for schools that want to be examination centres from $2 000 to $21 000 and did not change after it reverted to old prices for examination fees.
“These fees we are charging are a way to raise the Centre fees. Last year we were paying around $2 000 but now Zimsec is demanding around $21 000,” said the official.
The official said science subjects were charged a higher fee because there were practicals requiring lab equipment.
Precise College is charging around $450 for the whole term while the examination fee charged per student is around $500.
Zimsec public relations officer Ms Nicky Dlamini said the money which colleges were charged was not for Centre fee but for them to be registered as examination centres.
“It is for them to be registered as examination centres. So, for them to charge these amounts citing the money we charge them is not logical,” said Ms Dlamini.
Parents raised concern over the Centre fees saying it further disadvantages children because it is beyond the reach of many.
A parent whose child was enrolled at Denmark College said while tuition fees was reasonable, it was the Centre fee that worries her.
“The centre fee is too much. I am yet to pay but I heard that the money is above $400 which is a lot of money,” said Mrs Tshuma a vendor at the market along 4th Avenue.
Other parents said they are forced to take children to colleges because public and government schools no longer accept pupils repeating form four, insisting that they start at Form 3 according to the new Curriculum.
“My child has three subjects, so it would be unfair for her to start at Form 3, most schools no longer accept pupils who repeat Form 4 but private colleges are still flexible. However, it is the centre fees that they charge that is worrying,” said Mr Josphat Ncube of Cowdray Park Suburb.
Government recently cancelled the new 2020 examination fees of $190 per subject and reverted to the old fees of $15 approved in 2015.
This was after Zimsec had hiked examination fees by more than 1 200 percent causing an outcry from the public.