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Tertiary and higher education fees
Students Union (ZINASU)
January 23, 2007
The recently announced
higher and tertiary fees structure, as publicized in the Sunday
mail of 14 January is misleading. Infact, it is an attempt to create
an impression that government is keen on making education not only
affordable to everybody, but, also to sustain fallacy that it seeks
to maintain high standards, hence the reference to Zimbabwe’s education
role and status in the SADC.
It is however
clear that the increase of fees by 2000 percent is out of reach
of many guardians. The majority of students come from impoverished
rural areas, their parent’s income, if any, does not automatically
increase with the turn of the year since such parents are not in
formal employment. They are neither formally employed as Zimbabwe’s
economic crisis has destroyed both sectors. Given that the same
guardians have to pay school fees and levies (primary and Secondary),
nearly amounting to the same value, the fees becomes wildly out
of reach of many potential graduates and guardians. It is equally
astounding that government did not gazette food and accommodation
fees, leaving it to the discretion of individual institutions yet
these fees are the most expensive. They are variable pegged at over
Z$500 000. Education has not only been out rightly commercialized
and made a luxury, but the system has become bluntly discriminatory
against the poor .where does government expect the students to live
and what will they be eating during the course of their studies.
transport and books (exercises and texts) constitute the most expensive
aspects of education. Factor in the currently skyrocketing rate
of inflation and the subsequent rapid increase of basics puts everything
absolutely out of reach of many students. By gazetting tuition only,
government is abdicating its duties of protecting the poor and vulnerable
of our society and making education realizable by all. Incidentally
it is such groups who need education most to change their fortunes.
The ever worsening
extent of depravity has made colleges and universities breeding
grounds for prostitution and all sorts of corruption as students
desperately struggle to eke out a living, while continuing with
their studies. They dangerously expose themselves to HIV/AIDS, rape
and all forms of violence. In the extreme most students have dropped
out at a rate more than ZINASU’s modesty 31,5%. The government’s
provincial mouth pierce, Masvingo star, January 19-25, reports that
Masvingo Polytechnical College is deserted. As Education becomes
too expensive against prospects of a bleak future ,students take
great risk, illegally skip the border into South Africa, Botswana
and Mozambique, to do menial jobs. Isn’t this a disaster?
Can I hear any
Zanu PF and or Government official brag about Zimbabwe’s educational
role and status in the SADC. What a national loss and shame. We
have an educational crisis which government is refusing to acknowledge.
It is actually a national disaster.
Go to any University
or College today, students will tell you they rent about 4 to 6
a single room, walk about 30km to and from college everyday, on
empty bellies. They also have to be on the scrounge like everybody
else for basics which are in short supply. This is no fiction. Come
to Masvingo and confirm this with students who stay at Runyararo
West, Rhodene and in the farms close to Nemamwa Growth point crammed
in ramshackle domains, reminiscent of shanty towns, without running
water, ablutions or lighting. Honestly, how do we study and can
our education system proudly produce a polished global academic
under these circumstance. Clearly, these conditions are not conJusive
for any Kind or level of study .They actually speak volumes about
how much our education system and standards have plummet.
not be fooled. Students and parents should brace themselves for
a fight to redeem their birthright and dignity which this regime
has continuously failed to guarantee but nagete. More importantly,
they should confront the regime over issues of governence, constitutionalism,
democracy and human rights, whose failure, compounded by political
ineptitude and greedy within Zanu PF and government has cryptically
put the country in a political economic and social conundrum .Given
this, the 2010 Zanu Pf presidential project which threatens to worsen
the already unbearable suffering of the downtrodden Zimbabweans
should be confronted head on by all and sundry. The people have
no option, but to come out of this Zanu PF Cal-de-Sac Victorious.
ZINASU Vice President
Visit the ZINASU
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