Home » Education » Trust Schools Demand Shocking Acceptance Fees

SOME of the elite schools operating under the Association of Trust Schools (ATS), are charging a non-refundable acceptance fee of US$2 700 for students to be enrolled for Form 1 next year in a move that has courted the ire of both the government and parents.

ATS comprise an elite league of schools, among them Arundel, Chisipite Senior, Christian Brothers’ College, Dominican Convent (Bulawayo), Eaglesvale High, Girls College, Hellenic Academy, Hillcrest College, Masiyephambili College, MCC, Peterhouse Boys, Peterhouse Girls, Petra High School, St George’s College, St John’s College, South Eastern College, Watershed College, Westridge High, Falcon College, Gateway High School, Goldridge College, Kyle College and Lomagundi College. All the schools listed above will be holding their entrance examinations on July 5.

But ahead of the entrance tests, parents are already seething with anger after receiving communication from some of the schools to the effect that they should be prepared to part with more than US$2,000 once their children have been accepted for Form One. In a letter dated May 13, 2014 addressed to prospective Form One parents, St John’s College, said on acceptance parents would be asked to pay a US$2,700 acceptance fee. The acceptance fee is non refundable and will not be deducted from the first term fees for 2015.

“On acceptance, an acceptance fee of US$2 700 will be required to secure the place offered. Please note that this fee is not refundable and is not deductible from the first term fees for 2015,” reads part of the letter.

“The writing of the entrance examinations for St John’s is a mere formality as we are an Association of Trust Schools. I remind you that selection for the college is based primarily on an interview process for all external candidates. Boys from the Preparatory School are admitted directly unless there are serious disciplinary matters or a history of financial default.”

The move flies in the face of government’s attempts to put in place regulations meant to cushion parents from exploitation by some schools that increase fees and levies willy-nilly.

Recently, government froze all school fees increases and banned entrance tests. Government banned Form One entrance tests after it emerged that they had become a fund raising initiative for schools. Schools are now required to enroll Form One pupils on the basis of their Grade Seven results.

Contacted for comment, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Lazarus Dokora, condemned ATS for making life difficult for parents saying their demands for acceptance fees were unacceptable and illegal. “I have already received plenty of such communication from some parents indicating this new development. These schools should tell us if they want to run a school or a business,” he said.

“They should be stopped immediately. When you look at their academic results they are atrocious. ”

Parents have, since dollarisation in February 2009, called for the slashing of school fees, urging government to release fees guidelines especially for private schools. Most government schools in high density and rural areas pay at least US$5 as fees per term while those in low-density areas are paying US$30 per year and a minimum of US$20 for secondary schools.

Fees for schools under the ATS umbrella range from US$2 700 (day) to US$3 500 (boarding) for secondary education: Fees for primary education range from US$1 200 to US$ 2 000 per term. Trust schools have previously argued that it does not make sense to arbitrarily set conditions under which fees should be hiked when cost structures of schools are dependent on location and type of facilities at each institution.

A former board member of the ATS said there should be a distinction between a State institution and a private institution. He said private institutions should be allowed to make various economic decisions for their private entity as long as there is clarity and justification in those decisions. tweet

Source : Financial Gazette

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