Private schools may fail to open in 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's private schools may fail to reopen for the new term in January because a state commission that regulates fees and prices has not approved new fees.

Private schools are the surest source of a good education in crisis-hit Zimbabwe where a once brilliant public education sector is crumbling after years of under-funding and an acute brain-drain that has seen the best qualified teachers leaving for better paying jobs abroad.

The Association of Trust Schools (ATS), a grouping of private schools, this week said the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) was yet to respond to applications by the 62 private schools for permission to raise fees in line with galloping inflation.

“Not one school has received response from the NIPC,” said ATS chairman Jameson Timba. “There is real danger that the schools may not open next year if their fees are not reviewed upwards in line with inflation.”

He said more than 30 000 school children and nearly 7 000 teachers and support staff would be affected in the event that private schools failed to open for the new term that begins about two weeks after New Year’s Day. – ZimOnline

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