Students at Zimbabwe’s universities and colleges say they continue facing problems of failing to pay school fees at a time when the government is indicating that it may stop funding these institutions.
Students pay hundreds of dollars per semester. The country’s student cadetship program has stalled owing to lack of funds.
Students say they are likely to suffer more if the government stops funding these institutions of higher learning as they are likely to increase fees to cater for their wages and other necessities.
Recent University of Zimbabwe (UZ) graduate, Agency Gumbo, and former Zimbabwe National Students Union UZ chapter president, said plain and simple, the fees at Zimbabwe’s universities and colleges are exuberant under the current economic conditions.
“Right now you realize that most workers are not being paid and different companies are shutting down. And also that those that are being paid are even being paid late or sometimes being paid inadequate salaries,” said Gumbo.
Tuition at the University of Zimbabwe is on average $680, while at other universities like Bindura State University and Midlands State University they are required to pay $450 and $514 respectively each semester.
Other universities like Africa University request students to pay $1,200 a semester while Solusi University is demanding $1,210.
Parents are earning wages on average of $300, while others are vending to make ends meet.
Speaking to VOA Studio 7, Deputy Higher Education Minister Godfrey Gandawa, reassured students and parents that government will not allow universities to hike fees to meet the salary demands of lecturers.
Students have vowed to resist any move to stop funding universities saying the move will result in the hiking of fees and related costs.
Gandawa said the ministry has been exploring other avenues to find resources to have a grant and loans structure, through a revolving fund.
“We are trying to engage financial institutions in that regard, but we haven’t, I wouldn’t say, we now have a concrete deal. I don’t want to raise expectations of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Gandawa.