THE Government has directed schools to acquire point of sale machines to facilitate smooth payment of fees.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has put in place modalities to avail the machines as schools open for the first term on Tuesday.
The POS machines bring a relief to parents who are facing difficulties to access hard cash in the wake of currency shortages that have seen maximum weekly withdrawals pegged at US$300.
Some parents have opted for Real Time Gross Settlement payments that are charged at US$5 per transaction, and with school fees and levy accounts being different this has proved costly for many people.
Most day primary and secondary schools charge between US$40 and US$160 as fees per term and the central bank has set withdrawal charges at one percent of the total amount taken from a bank.
Our Harare Bureau understands that the Reserve Bank is ready to avail POS machines, especially to urban schools.
The opening of schools this week had seen parents spending more time in bank queues to withdraw money for fees payments.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora last week told our Harare Bureau that arrangements had been made with the RBZ to ensure schools could use “swipe machines”, as POS terminals are colloquially referred to.
“As a ministry we have liaised with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that our schools need to use swipe machines as we move towards the cashless society,” he said.
“(RBZ Governor) Dr (John) Mangudya has assured me that all schools that need the machines will get them because they have already made them available. As Government we are saying we are leading by example. Why should parents spend productive time at banks yet they can swipe their children’s fees at the schools?”
Dr Dokora said some unscrupulous school authorities might demand cash from parents and urged them to move with the times in the promotion of a cashless society.
“There is no need for parents to seek hard cash for payment of fees. Schools are thus guided to acquire service machines from any of the banking retail businesses,” he said.
Dr Dokora said it was important for parents paying huge sums in school fees to use RTGS payments.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association secretary-general Mr John Mlilo said POS and RTGS payments were the way to go.
“It’s a good development because it is easier for parents although it’s a bit late for those going into Form One,” he said. He said it was important for the RBZ to keep improving the infrastructure for POS machine use.