As parents and guardians gear up for a new schools term which begins tomorrow, many last-minute shoppers, especially for basic requirements, had to contend with punitive prices from predatory retailers.
Apart from the worrying price hikes, there is also concern that the list of requirements by schools is unreasonably long. Shoppers crammed the central business district (CBD) at the weekend, particularly on Saturday, as they sought bargains for school items.
However, the high prices dampened their spirits.
Parents who spoke to The Herald yesterday raised concern on what they called extortionate prices.
“Prices changed after the holidays as retailers stocked uniforms and other school-related materials in October 2017 so as to hike prices in the first week of January, leaving parents with no choice, but to buy,” said Mrs Rusununguko Mudondo, a Warren Park resident.
“For some of us, our salary is less than $300 and I have more than two children going to school,” said Mrs Mudondo.
“Retailers expect us to buy expensive materials, for example, a blazer from big retailers such as Enbee ranges from $73 up to $80, and the school expects us to pay school fees, buy groceries and bus fare.
Parents of learners enrolling in new schools, especially for Grade One and Form One are feeling the pinch.
“Form One students are quite costly: they are expected to bring all required uniforms, which range up to $450 and at the same time, parents are expected to pay full fees to secure places for their children,” said Mrs Makuvise (46) who lives in Kuwadzana Extension.
Some parents are finding it difficult to raise funds for school fees and other school-related materials required before the opening day.
Meanwhile, teachers say there is need, as the new term opens, to provide facilities in rural schools to make the new curriculum relevant, as well as guarantee equal opportunities and quality education.
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers’ Union (ZRTU) president Mr Martin Chaburumunda said there was urgent need for stakeholders to partner rural teachers to ensure the smooth implementation of the new curriculum.
“The new curriculum seems to have been put in place to benefit the pupils in towns only as there are no facilities in rural areas to ensure its smooth implementation,” he said.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe reiterated the need for proper facilities in rural areas to ensure the smooth running of the new curriculum.
“In some areas, a subject like ICT is unteachable simply because there is no electricity, solar and or teaching material as well,” he said.