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  • Talks, dialogue, negotiations and GNU - Post June 2008 "elections" - Index of articles


  • Statement on the finalization of the formation of the Inclusive Government
    Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
    February 17, 2009

    The Zimbabwe National Students Union, representing the students of Zimbabwe, notes the developments leading to the finalization of the formation of the Inclusive government. We hold that this inclusive government can only be considered as a transitional government. We emphasize that its role is to, in the interim, ensure that people's lives are improved, the humanitarian crisis is addressed and that a new people driven democratic constitution is in place and fresh elections are held thereafter.

    Mindful of the situation at hand and the urgent need to transform society and the education system, we therefore demand an urgent attention on the following concerns regarding education by the transitional government;

    Academic Freedoms and institutional autonomy

    Academic freedoms and the autonomy of institutions of higher learning are very fundamental notions the previous governments of Zimbabwe have not been respecting. Student leaders and activists have been victimized only for committing the crime of exercising and demanding their academic freedoms; they have been suspended and expelled from colleges on very frivolous and vexatious allegations. In this new dispensation, we call upon the transitional government to, as a matter of urgency; unreservedly reinstate all suspended and expelled students back to their respective colleges.

    Further, academic freedoms and freedoms to associate assemble and expression at campuses must be restored and guaranteed to all students at tertiary institutions.

    In line with the transitional agenda of democratizing the country and reforming of key national institutions, we demand the same in our institutions of higher learning. To effect this and to give autonomy to our Universities, the current arrangement in which the President of the republic is automatically the chancellor of all state universities must be looked into and abolished. It is our conviction that such an arrangement is inappropriate and is a negation to and attack on democracy. Therefore we recommend that university councils and college boards be given the responsibility and authority to elect or appoint their respective chancellors or board chairpersons.

    University Ordinances, the University of Zimbabwe Act and other repressive instruments

    The use and abuse of the University Ordinances, the University Acts and other repressive instruments by Authorities to oppress students must be stopped forthwith. These instruments have been abused by most colleges to victimize students who have been viewed as enemies of the state. We therefore call upon the transitional government and our legislators to repeal all notorious university ordinance clauses and other repressive instruments.

    Accessibility of Education

    Education is swiftly becoming a preserve for the elite. Tuition fees gazetted for academic year 2009 are out of reach to the majority of students. The new policy framework in which the state is transferring the responsibility and burden of funding education from the government to the parents is unacceptable and puts the country at a risk of taking away any gains made since 1980. Our conviction is that it is the responsibility of the state to educate its citizens. The neo-liberal policies reflected in the policy pronouncements made during the 2009 budget presentation must be abandoned forthwith. The transitional government must focus on addressing the plight of the suffering people; and not exacerbate the suffering. If the budget announced is anything to go by, the future of the ordinary poor man who happens to be the parent of the student will be in jeopardy and shrouded in uncertainty, hence making the future of the student and indeed that of the country uncertain.

    Academic year 2008

    2008 is by any point of imagination a wasted year. Clearly no effort has been taken to address the crisis that rocked our education sector in 2009. if there was any it is very negligible. We therefore wish to put to the attention of the transitional government our grave concerns regarding the lack of prioritization of education in the country. Any future inconvenience to the students must be avoided.

    Conclusion

    ZINASU believes our problems are a result of a flawed constitution and therefore the constitutional reform process must be undertaken transparently with the people of Zimbabwe driving the process. We believe the right to education must entrenched in a new people driven constitution.

    Visit the ZINASU fact sheet

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