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Zimbabwean Students Find Government Assistance Program Unreliable

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is blaming the Ministry of Finance for underfunding the cadetship program, which some students charge is run along politically partisan lines

Hundreds of Zimbabwean students at polytechnic institutions in Bulawayo, Mutare and Masvingo studying under a state-funded "cadetship" program have been unable to access exam results because their tuitions for 2010 have not been paid.

Bulawayo Polytechnic told some students they had to pay 2010 tuition fees in full to access their exam results. Student fees run from US$200 to US$300 a term, obliging the students to come up wiht $600 to get exam results and continue their studies.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is blaming the Ministry of Finance for underfunding the cadetship program - which some students say has been run along politically partisan lines - by diverting monies to a grants-and-loans scheme.

Reports said Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge argued that US$13 million should be made available to cover the cadet scheme under which students are subsequently obliged to fulfill national service such as teaching in rural areas.

Zimbabwe National Student Union spokesperson Kudakwashe Chababva said the cadet program has not had adequate funding since 2008.

Chababva told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the Finance Ministry has agreed to provide funds for students under the cadet program, but institutions have been reluctant to provide information on students in need of assistance.

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