In case you were too drunk in holiday euphoria and all that fake Jameson Whiskey to pay attention to anything else here is something you missed: first term fees for 2020 is going to cost you more than an arm and a leg. By the time you finish paying for your kids, you won’t have any limbs.

Elite schools such as Dominican Convent, St Georges et al are asking for around $20 000. In fact, Falcon is asking for $50 000 including tuition and boarding fees.

That all sounds pretty steep until you start counting the cost. Look at your own grocery expenses for December for example and you start realising something. Even all those eye-popping amounts are probably not going to be enough. It’s not outside the realms of possibility that you are going to be asked for a top-up. You have been warned!

The government’s response

So far all government officials have done is to hide their heads in the sand. Official after official has been claiming that schools are not allowed to hike their fees by 20% without government approval. And yet it’s happening. Again it’s not like schools are doing unreasonable things. They have no choice given how the cost of living has gone up.

In fact, a lot of Ministers have school-going children who attend these so-called elite schools. They are probably going to pay those steep fees as well you can bet on that. You can also bet that they are going to pay up.

The government is also touting BEAM as a possible solution. Basic Education Assistance Module is a program under which the government pays primary and secondary school fees for vulnerable children.

According to the government, they are going to increase the number of beneficiaries from 415 000 to 1 million this year. They have set aside $450 000 to see that through. That might just work however BEAM is going to help students on government schools only. There are a lot of private schools out there.

In Epworth, a rural area just outside Harare the number of students hopelessly outnumber the schools in the area. Even with two learning sessions per day thousands of students still fail to get learning places at government schools leaving them at the mercy of private institutions and not by choice. These will not accept BEAM I can assure you.