On Thursday, 28th of May 2015, Heal Zimbabwe Trust took part in a peaceful march organised by ZIMRIGHTS against the introduction of Grade Seven examination fees as well as the increase in Ordinary Level examination fees. The march was attended by concerned parents, guardians, Civil Society members and some of the affected primary school pupils. The increase which was announced by the Minister of Primary and Secondary education, Lazarus Dokora in April 2015 will see all children sitting for grade seven exams paying an exam fee of $3 while those in Ordinary level will pay an extra $2 from the $13 they were paying.
The move goes against the basic Human Right of affording every person universal Primary Education. The privatisation of education will automatically lower the country’s education standards. The move to introduce exam fees for grade seven and increase the Ordinary level comes at a time when there is rampant unemployment that has rendered many destitutes and vendors. The rise in the cost of living in Zimbabwe leaves many parents in both urban and rural areas with the dilemma of being unable to afford the exam fees. It should not be ignored that some of the children who are being denied access to education are orphans because of political violence. To this day, many of these orphans are still traumatised due to the effects of politically-led violence especially in the years 2000,2005 and 2008. The only hope that they had for a better future through education is now being robbed.
The ZIMRIGHTS Director, Mr Machisa reiterated that they will do anything in their power to thwart Minister Dokora and his Government from introducing these fees as well as advocating for the reduction of Ordinary and Advanced level registration fees. While Section 27 of the Constitution provides for free and compulsory education for all children, the move by Government to commercialise education is a direct violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.