Back to Index
under attack in Zimbabwe
Students Union (ZINASU)
January 09, 2007
experiencing educational crisis of unprecedented propositions in
higher education. Since 1997, the academic atmosphere in the country
has become worse as compared to the times of colonialism. In 1979
budgetary allocation to the education sector was 37% of the total
national expenditure, while today the percentage is far less. The
government of Mr. Robert Mugabe has consciously refused to accord
education its rightful place in our overall developmental plan.
allocation to the sector has been most satanic and cruel. Our passionate
plea to the government advising them to start spending at least
26 % of the budget on education, as required by UNESCO has fallen
on the deaf ears of the power - drunk and blood - thirst
leaders who spend most of their time blaming everyone except themselves.
They blame history, circumstances and imagined enemies for the total
collapse of our education system, once the beacon and envy of Africa.
. The natural consequences of this is that the already over stretched
facilities are further endangered.
A review of
pertinent data shows that Zimbabwe is facing a sharp decline in
public expenditure on higher education, deteriorating teaching conditions,
decaying educational facilities and infrastructures, perpetual student
unrest , erosion of university autonomy, a shortage of experienced
and well trained professors, lack of academic freedoms, and an increasing
rate of unemployment among university graduates.
One of the most
critical problems challenging higher education in Zimbabwe is the
rapid decline in public expenditure on education relative to rapid
increase in enrolments at higher educational level and mushrooming
of many state Universities. Instead of maintaining and improving
the conditions at already existing universities, the populist government
of Mr. Mugabe continues to build more institutions. The decrease
in governmental expenditure on education has caused strained relations
between the state and the public consumers of education. Unlike
the educational funding system in the industrialized countries,
education has traditionally been the financial responsibility of
the Zimbabwean Government like in most African countries. Unfortunately
due to gross economic mismanagement and to a lesser extend demographic
pressures over the last decade; the government is now turning aggressively
to already poverty stricken parents to bear the heavy burden of
the astronomical costs of education.
To further compound
this, government's policies and stance on sensitive issues germane
to positive growth of the sector are detrimental to that goal. Directly
or indirectly from some or all of the foregoing, Zimbabwe has the
world's highest rate of college drop out outside war zone. The preliminary
results of the research conducted by Zimbabwe National Students
Union (ZINASU) in 2006 shows that more than 31.5 % of students were
forced out of school due to the astronomical fees being charged
in the tertiary institutions.
has this year increased both tuition and accommodation fees in all
tertiary institutions this year. If the University of Zimbabwe Council
meeting held on 12 December 2006 is anything to go by then an already
poverty striken intelligentsia of this land will be paying $ZW 300
000 (US$ 1 200) in accommodation fees only, up from $ZW 24 000 and
they are still waiting for the ministry to approve a staggering
$ZW 550 000 being the tuition fees, up from $ZW 12 000. Students
from the School of Mines in Bulawayo are expected to pay over $ZW
537 500 beside the fact that they will be going on attachment. What
will become of students who are not going for attachment given that
they will have to pay for accommodation and catering services? In
all polytechnic colleges the students will be paying $ZW 115 000
being tuition fees and $ZW 200 000 for hostel facilities. The teachers
colleges are expected to part away with $ZW 120 000 being money
for tuition and $ZW 300 000 for hostel facilities.
college students will have to pay $ZW 250 000 in total.
the mind of all and sundry is the levels of mediocrity insulated
at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The students are questioning the
rationality or lack of it of having the Reserve Bank Governor, a
one Gideon Gono ordering the world's fastest car, a Mercedes Benz
Brasbus E V12 Biturbo at an earth shattering cost of US$ 365 000,
when converted to the real market rate it amounts to $ZW 1 017 000
000, money which can pay for grade one up to grade seven pupils
in 6 out of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe for 2 years or more.
must notice that after having weighed down by years of recklessness,
looting, care free attitude, amnesia, corruption and madness, must
now reclaim their rightful place in the struggle for a revolutionary
transformation of our society to a democracy, were the respect for
and protection of academic freedom is prioritized. Some students
have argued that Mugabe and his cronies are not moved by the deteriorating
standards in tertiary institutions because they did most of their
degrees in prison. Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela
observed that education is the most powerful weapon for development
and it goes without saying students constitute the largest reservoir
of technocrats in Zimbabwe development milieu, providing highly
trained manpower in many sectors.
Lack of comprehensive
and sustainable educational policy is a major factor in the shortage
of manpower, especially trained lecturers in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
is facing an acute shortage of a wide range of professionals, particularly
in the areas of effective policy analysis, policy formulation, policy
implementation, research and development, engineering, technology,
medicine, teaching, agriculture and many other specialized areas
of development process. Our economy is in doldrums and as a culmination
many professional are leaving this country for greener pastures.
Writing on the
ZINASU website www.zinasu.org
in his end of year statement the ZINASU president, Comrade Promise
Mkwananzi promised the nation that the students will turn the corner
in 2007. He warned that students being the major stakeholder in
the Zimbabwean body politic will take it upon themselves to save
the education and the nation at large from further abuse in the
hands of the ruling or ruining party. While advising in strong terms,
Mkwananzi told the nation that if a government rebels against students,
the students will rebel back and if the government becomes anti-students,
the students will become anti-government. The onus is now with us
all the pro-democracy forces to support the students as they move
to erode the authoritarian regime in Zimbabwe.
Visit the ZINASU
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.