rises at Bindura University
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Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Students
National Students Union (ZINASU)
March 19, 2007
been made to pay initial accommodation fees of $40 000 and tuition
and registration fees of between $45 000 and $60 000 by 5 March
2007, students at Bindura University have been slapped with a demand
of an additional $85 000 top-up fees broken down as follows:
- $5 000 Registration
- $30 000 Medical
- $50 000 Accommodation
At the fees review
meeting that was held in February 2007, it was agreed that each
student must have compulsory medical aid, either from CIMAS or the
ineffective Premier Service Medical Aid Society offered by the university
(and not recognised by local hospitals). However, the administration
is forcing all students to pay the $30 000 including those who are
affiliated to CIMAS. This has enraged the student body with others
claiming that their rights are being violated as they are of the
traditional religion and others saying they belong to a certain
Apostolic Faith sect and thus do not believe in medication. Failure
to pay the registration and medical aid fees has resulted in students
not being allowed to register for the semester.
$50 000 for accommodation fees has further increased students' anger.
Presently, a room that is meant to be occupied by two individuals
has been made to cater for four people with two students on each
single bed, (having each paid the initial $40 000) a condition that
has proved to be unhygienic. This $50 000, it is said, is to cater
for cleaning chemicals- $20 000 and an unbelievable $30 000 reserved
for tissues provided by the contracted housekeeping company, Mirilove.
It is the poor service delivery by this company that has made the
$30 000 be an incredible amount as last semester students only got
three rolls of tissue paper, and now a packet of four rolls costs
around $10 000 making the $30 000 for the poor quality tissues an
The meal prices
have also become a cause for concern as the high prices being charged
are out of reach of the majority of students. The dining hall has
virtually been turned into a police canteen as it is only catering
for the police students whose meals are prepaid by their employer
at the beginning of each semester. Although the meal prices have
not yet been officially set, the provisional prices of at least
$3 500 for a sub standard meal of sadza and beef is beyond the reach
of students whose majority are sons and daughters of peasant farmers
(whose harvests, if any, are yet to be realised); nurses, doctors
and lecturers who are currently on strike due to paltry salaries.
At the moment,
only half of the students have returned since the university reopened
on the 11th of March as they are struggling to raise the initial
$85 000 to $100 000 to complete a budget of around $510 000 for
just one month broken down as:
- $210 000 Meals
- $100 000 Initial
- $100 000 Stationery
- $100 000 General
Which will go
up to more than $600 000 in the event that the top-up is effected.
And this burden for a parent who earns on average a mere $250 000
salary per month!
It is reported
that most students who have not yet returned to school are engaged
in cross border trading in South Africa, Zambia and Botswana; while
others are often seen at Ximex Mall and Road port dealing in cell
phones and forex respectively. Meanwhile, the students back at school
have turned their rooms into mini tuck shops selling eggs, maputi,
bananas, tomatoes, sweets, matemba, vegetables, exercise books,
Soya mince, ball point pens etc. Others are in the trade of mending
shoes and repairing cell phones. All this is evidently being done
in an effort top raise funds for their upkeep and to raise enough
school fees. Again, prostitution has also started taking root among
female students so as to gat extra cash for survival.
In the wake of
the university authorities' demands and threats of being booted
out of the halls of residence and being disallowed to register,
students have openly declined to give in and have also threatened
to boycott lecturers in defiance of these orders, and the boycott
being also in solidarity with all other institutions in the 'Save
our Education; Save our Future campaign.'
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