Parents in Zimbabwe could face up to two years in jail if they fail to send their children to school.
The government has made education compulsory up to the age of 16 to thwart rising school dropouts blamed on the poor state of the economy.
It is estimated that in some parts of the country 20% of children do not go to school.
The new law also makes it is an offence to expel children for non-payment of school fees or for becoming pregnant.
According to BBC, last year at least 60% of the children in primary school were sent home for failing to pay fees as reported by the state's Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac).
Since 1980 after independence, Zimbabwe adopted the education for all which made former president the late Robert Mugabe win the heart of many making Zimbabwe education one of the best in the Africa.
The school system he established gave black Zimbabwean greater access to education as hundreds of state schools were opened, leading to Zimbabweans enjoying among the highest literacy rates in Africa.
However, free education ended in the 1990s and parents have to pay for their children's school fees which is proving difficult under the current economic stress. Despite the hardship, parents are now also in the firing line if their offspring fail to go to school.
They face up two years in jail - or a $260 fine if they can afford to pay it - if their children are found not to be attending classes.
It been described as a bold attempt to force parents to prioritise education.
But some believe this is a broken promise as the government promised to provide free basic education.
The high drop-out rate has also been blamed on pregnancy, early marriages, the long distances to schools and a lack of interest, our reporter adds.
Children are dropping out from school because parents have been spending less on education as they struggle to buy food. Fees at government-run schools must be paid up depending on where they are based.
Some schools lack resources prompting schools to ask parents to provide these too.
In a sign of the desperate times, makeshift schools in poor areas of the capital have been sprouting up in homes and backyards. They are unregistered - and therefore illegal. They can work out cheaper - about $3 a month - though their main draw is their flexibility about when the fees are paid. These backyard schools are also more flexible about uniforms.
Those who can afford are opting to send their children to private schools which are very expensive but considered by other parents as worth-it.