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Lazarus Dokora, Zimbabwe’s education minister, recently instructed schools to accept alternative forms of payment for school fees.
According to Dokora, parents who do not have cash can pay for their children’s tuition fees using goats, cows, and other livestock. He added that parents can also pay by doing work that would benefit the school.
In addition, an education official explained that paying through livestock may be more applicable to parents from the rural areas, while parents from urban areas may choose to render their services instead.
This action plan is a direct result of the country’s declining economy and cash shortage. A week before Dokora’s announcement, government officials allowed banks to accept assets like machines, vehicles, and farm animals as collateral for loans.
In 2009, the country decided to convert from their own currency to U.S. dollars after the Zimbabwean dollar completely lost its value. Today, locals spend hours lining up in front of banks to get cash because most banks only allow each person to withdraw $50 a day.
John Mlilo [EM-li-loh], a representative from the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, appealed to the ministry of education to reconsider accepting parents’ services as payment. He mentioned that there would be a commotion if many parents come to the schools to work. Having the same concern, a parent said that instead of resorting to alternative forms of payment, the government has to address the crisis directly so that school fees can be paid in cash.
Despite growing criticism from the public, some schools in the country have already started adopting this new form of payment.