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ZINASU against HEXCO decision to revise examination structure
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) (Chinyere)
March 05, 2010

General comment

The deteriorating state of the education sector in Zimbabwe remains one of the stumbling blocks to development in the country. The prohibitive cost of higher education has heavily affected students with a record dropout rate of 39% since the introduction of the dollarization of education in March 2010.

ZINASU has been involved in both lobbying and advocacy and protests in trying to address the anomalies in the education fraternity. The Union held several meetings with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary education and some of the challenges were addressed. There is still need to continue pressuring the Government to inject funds in resuscitating the higher education sector. Cases of students' victimisations have been on the increase with state apparatus victimising student leaders at National University of Science and Technology on Monday 1 March 2010, a move that is unlawful and uncalled for.

There has been an improvement in the number of colleges holding SRC elections and ZINASU would like to commend all the college authorities in various institutions who gave students the opportunities to choose SRC leaders of their choice. This shows that the democratic space is widening in some institutions of higher learning. The onus is now on colleges like the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Polytechnic College who are deliberately delaying the holding of SRC elections.

HEXCO's Suggestion Disastrous

Higher Education Examination Council (HEXCO) held a consultative public meeting with students from Gweru Polytechnic College on 1 March 2010 where they announced that the Council is considering revisiting the structure of the HEXCO examinations. The officials stated that they wanted to reverse the current structure of 70% of results consisting of examinations and 30% course work to 60% constituting course work and 40% of the marks coming from writing examinations. This decision has been met with serious criticism from the students who decried the creation of room for manipulation by lecturers.

Female students protested arguing that course work cannot consist of the huge part of the results as it makes it easier for lecturers to fail the students for example in the event that one turns down a love/ sexual request from the lecturer. Other students highlighted that the process can lead to students demanding bribes from lecturers in order to pass and this will lead to an increase in the number of corruption cases.

The ZINASU Secretary General, Grant Tabvurei who also attended the meeting alluded to the fact that the structure will have a serious compromise on the quality of education produced in Polytechnic Colleges as course works in most cases are plagiarized by students hence not the best measure for academic work.

ZINASU Position on the Indigenization Bill

ZINASU condemns in the strongest terms the recent gazzeting of the Indigenization Bill as it flies in the face of current initiatives to attract investment. The bill demands 51% black majority in local business, an idea that is brilliant and pro poor but only feasible in a sound and well functioning economy not Zimbabwe which is coming out of a period of strife and political turmoil. We see this as move by drunken Zanu PF vampires who want to suck and loot the ailing economy.

The students of Zimbabwe strongly agree on the need to empower locals considering that unemployment rate is at a staggering 85%. If history serves us right, this move by Mugabe is a deliberate political gimmick considering his recent announcement of the possibility of holding elections in 2011. This is one of his many tactics of trying to buy votes from the people. As much as the country needs to empower the black majority it should not be ignored that it is prudent for the Government to first address "bread and butter" issues considering that 80% of Zimbabweans live below the poverty datum line with the stated population living on less than 1USD per day. The poverty and strife in Zimbabwe can be equated to a country coming out of a war zone. It is disastrous for the Government to start the process of enrichment and wealth distribution when institutions of higher learning are recording a 39% college dropout rate as a result of unaffordability of education.

Students cannot afford the exorbitant tuition fees ranging between USD150-USD850 respectively in most colleges and one of the solutions facing the education sector can only be solved by the injection of huge external funds and the introduction of the indigenization bill will only scarce away potential investors whose assistance will go a long way in rebuilding Zimbabwe.

It is general knowledge that this bill will only benefit ZANU Pf big cronies as happened in the land reform program in the 2000. Very few deserving ordinary Zimbabweans will benefit from the bill. A leaf can be drawn from the current youth empowerment fund where youths are supposed to come up with proposals and get loans from the Government but there are reports of the funds being distributed on partisan basis with ZANU Pf youths taking a big chunk of the resources.

ZINASU calls upon the Government especially the Minister of Youth, Empowerment and Transformation, Mr. Saviour Kasukuwere to first train the beneficiaries of the indigenization programme with the necessary technical expertise in order to avoid the same blunders that occurred in the haphazard land reform exercise. We urge the Minister to shelve the bill and allow for greater consultation. There is a high risk that government elites will stampede in looting companies and industries and destroy the little gains that have been made in the inclusive government.

The first anniversary of Amai Tsvangirai's death

Saturday, 6 March 2010 marks the first anniversary of the death of Amai Susan Tsvangirai. She died in a tragic car accident under unclear circumstances, which are yet to be investigated. She was on her way to Masvingo for a rally with her husband Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The students Union joins the nation in celebrating her life during which she was a pillar of strength to her husband in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe. Mai Tsvangirai was the mother of the democratization struggle. The ZINASU President Joshua Chinyere will deliver a speech at the memorial service to be held tomorrow at Glamis Stadium. The Union calls to the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate the death of Amai Tsvangirai and the recent threat to the Prime Minister's life by "unknown assailants".

May her soul rest in eternal peace

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