By Johannes Chin’ombe
Masvingo, 15 January, 2016 – AS the country’s economic crisis persists, some children attending boarding school have been forced to seek enrolment in cheaper day schools as parents struggle to raise fees and other basics.
A snap survey by RadioVop during the schools opening week in Masvingo has shown that most secondary schools offering day schooling have been inundated with requests for new secondary school places.
School heads have confirmed the influx was being caused by a deepening economic crisis in the country, where guardians have lost reliable incomes while others have seen it fit to scale down on the use of their little savings in preparation for the looming drought.
Drought prone Masvingo is among the hardest hit provinces in the country.
“We usually experience long queues upon commencement of the first term as parents seek places for their children who will be going for form one,” said Ndarama High School headmistress, Shirley Makausi.
“This year’s scenario is different as many of them are transferring pupils in need of places at day schools.”
Gift Gindingwe, another head at a Chivi school, concurred, adding that 2016 has seen an increase in requests for new places in day schools.
“We are receiving more transfers as compared to any other year,” he said without giving statistics.
Gindingwe said most parents have admitted during interviews they were finding it tough to continue pumping out amounts of up to $400 plus groceries to have their children continue attending boarding schools.
He however said it was not possible to please every applicant as poorly resourced schools in the area had limited places.
Parents who spoke to RadioVop said they were determined to secure cheaper schooling for their children with one parent, Eustina Masikati saying she felt hurt to transfer her child from what she thought was one of the best schools in the province.
Said another parent, Jerinah Banda, “I have not yet received my 2015 November salary and boarding fees have been costing me $400 compared to $70 I will pay at Ndarama if I manage to secure a place for my child.
“It is not my choice, nor is it my son’s choice but this economy has driven me to this decision.”
Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED) Zedias Chitiga refused to commit himself to speculation on what could be driving the exodus but was quick to dispel the notion that day schools offered inferior education.
“…when students move, they just receive the same education as Zimbabwean curricula is just the same,” Chitiga said